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Ladakh celebrates I-Day a year after being declared UT; Lt Governor assures protection & development

LEH: The Union Territory of Ladakh on Saturday celebrated the 74th Independence Day as Lt Governor R K Mathur used the opportunity to dispel apprehensions of the locals with regard to protection of land and fear of inundation by outsiders.

The celebrations also come as Ladakh completed one year of it becoming a union territory.

In his Independence Day address at Leh Polo-ground where he unfurled the tricolour and inspected the guard of honour, the Lt Governor said the UT status of Ladakh has heightened the expectations of people.

"The Union Territory (UT) status has heightened the expectations and aspirations of the people of Ladakh along with certain apprehensions in terms of protection of land, environment, job and fear of inundation by outsiders.

"The UT administration is determined to meet their expectations in ensuring protection and development," he said.

He also assured all-round development of the region, adding that Ladakh has the potential to become the renewable energy capital of the country.

Congratulating the people of Ladakh on completing one year of it becoming a union territory, Mathur said, "It is a dream come true for Ladakhis and we must thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for it."

"It is a golden opportunity for the people to make a Ladakh of their choice as they hold its destiny," he said, urging the youth to explore and excel in entrepreneurship by taking advantage of various government schemes.

He also urged the youth to make the best use of indigenous products for value addition to ensure better livelihood.

The Independence Day was celebrated with limited invitees and negligible public gathering owing to the risk of the coronavirus pandemic this year.

During the celebration, all the safety and precautionary guidelines, including maintaining social distancing and wearing of masks, were followed.

The Lieutenant Governor also paid tributes to the brave soldiers, who sacrificed their lives guarding the borders, and also thanked the armed and paramilitary forces for their immense contribution in the welfare and development of Ladakh, especially during the harsh winter season.

Highlighting the vision of the prime minister for Ladakh, he said the same is reflected in the announcement of a Special Development Package provision in the J&K Reorganisation Act, to make Ladakh a carbon-neutral region and develop Leh and Kargil as smart cities.

Mathur noted that the greatest benefit of a UT status is that it has brought the government closer to the people and providing dignity to their interaction, adding that it will go a long way in integrating Ladakh with the rest of the country.

"The UT status has brought a significant change in the administrative structure with the functioning of the UT administration, directorates, two hill councils and the panchayati raj system," he said.

The Lt Governor also made a mention of all the development plans, projects, government schemes and achievements of the UT administration till date.

"Ladakh has the potential to become the renewable energy capital of India," he asserted.

Mathur also applauded the COVID warriors like doctors, nurses, paramedics, municipal staff, police and the administration for their dedicated work in fighting against the pandemic.

He honoured the COVID warriors, including nodal officers for their services in the evacuation of stranded passengers to Ladakh during the national lockdown.

The Lt Governor appealed to the people of Ladakh to continue with their resolve, courage and patience in adhering to the safety protocols, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.

"Together, we can aspire to make Ladakh COVID-19 free and set an example for the rest of the world," he added.

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