Chushul villages lack mobile connectivity and other development issues


Remote villages in Chushul area, close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, continue to struggle for mobile connectivity and power supply despite being a strategically-located region, which was a witness to 2020 Galwan stand off with the China.

ALSO READ: For China, Galwan Valley is a lot more than a border skirmish

Chushul councillor, Konchok Stanzin wrote on Saturday to Ladakh LG RK Mathur, a former defence secretary, that India has “sadly” not realised that “universal internet coverage of all border villages is the skeleton of a smart security policy of any country”.

Internet connectivity

Stanzin sought LG’s intervention for sanctioning of 4G mobile towers for Phobrang, Yourgo, Lukung, Maan, Merak, Khakted, Satoo, Barma, Kherapullu and Chibra villages. For about six to eight months, these regions have become virtually inaccissible due to harsh winter.

In his missive, he also stated many telecom service providers are least interested to establish their network due to lack of availability of optical fibre cable in many villages of Chushul constituency. Stanzin lamented “multiple requests to concerned service providers at various platforms” have not yielded any results.

Interestingly, Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, the BJP MP from Leh, had inaugurated Jio mobile tower last November in Demchok village of Eastern Ladakh, which was said to cover adjoining areas. The MP later reportedly tweeted and dedicated “4G internet to the villagers, Army and tourists travelling Pangong-Chushul-Tsaga via Rizang La.”

The councillor met the LG at Raj Bhavan in Leh on Saturday and later posted on social media site that he had a “detailed and thoughtful discussion” with him. The Councillor thanked Mathur in his tweet for “giving positive assurance on every issue that I put before.”

Power and road connectivity

Stanzin also fagged other critical issues that he said was necessary since “without a strong border infrastructure and modern amenities it’s very hard to strengthen security”. He stated northern power grid was connected to Leh years back, but “there is no eagerness shown by the government of India/UT administration to connect Changthang region” to same grid.

Similarly, though road connectivity has comparatively improved in the Chushul area, which has been a conflict zone since 1962 war, since its considered as a gateway to Leh, the counsellor also suggested construction of an alternative road from Chibra to Tukla by a central government agency since he expressed reservation over possible competence of the PWD, which he informed has already done the survey and DPR for the stretch.

For Changla Road leading to Durbuk, which is one of the six sub-divisions of Leh district, Stanzin appreciated the new initiative taken by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) for laying the surface but he expressed concern on the grounds that “it seems very dangerous for daily travellers to drive during the snowing and winter season, roads look very slippery..”

Other woes affecting villages

He also wanted the administration to develop pastureland in bordering villages given that restrictions imposed on grazing and because of winter, it becomes difficult for livestock to survive. Last month, Chinese PLA soldiers had stopped grazing in Demchok area, which was subsequently taken up in military commanders level talk by the Indian side to resolve it.

Under-developed school infrastructure and need to improve banking facility are some of the other matters affecting daily lives of villagers, which were taken up with the top Ladakh administrator.

Published on

September 06, 2022

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