At the annual general meeting of FICCI last evening, the external affairs minister asserted that the country has been maintaining the kind of military deployment that is necessary for national security.
As winters are around the corner, the administrations of the union territory of Ladakh and Kashmir valley have up-scaled the stocking of food items, fuel and other essential commodities as the road connectivity is expected to be blocked due to snow in the coming months. Winter stocking in Ladakh is a massive exercise for the civil administration as well as the armed forces as almost every essential commodity has to be stocked for at least six months.
Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh RK Mathur, reviewed the winter stocking position and stressed tie up with airlines to maintain a regular supply of perishable items. He also suggested construction of more storage facilities at Kargil and Zanskar.
The Ladakh administration shall this time also have to stock fodder as well for the valuable pashmina goats of Changthang as the winter pasturelands have become out of bounds for shepherds because of the presence of Chinese Army along these areas. Hundreds of pashmina goat rearers, particularly in the 54 villages of the Changthang area have lost access to the pasturelands and are unable to migrate to the winter pastures due to the presence of Chinese troops in the area.
Taking stock of winter storage, Ladakh’s divisional commissioner Saugat Biswas stressed streamlining procurement of vegetables grown locally in polycarbonate greenhouses during winters.
He ordered adequate storage of LPG, petrol, diesel, kerosene, Air Turbine Fuel (ATF), firewood, hard coke and procurement of food grains by FCI. He also discussed in detail procurement of feed and medicines for livestock under the Animal and Sheep Husbandry Department, medicines and machinery/equipment in the Health Department.Representatives of the Merchant Association, Leh flagged the issue of hiked cargo rate on closure of roads resulting in exaggerated rates for fruits, vegetables, etc.
Kashmir’s Divisional Commissioner Pandurang K Pole visited Sonamarg where he chaired a high level meeting of officers to review winter preparedness for keeping Sonamarg open during the winters.
He held threadbare discussion regarding the necessary preparations and arrangements including water, electricity, health, road, fire service, snow clearing operations, mobile communication, traffic management, firewood and other related facilities to be put in place for keeping Sonamarg open during the winters. Regarding mobile connectivity, the officials of Jio, Airtel and BSNL service providers were directed to prepare an action plan to ensure all mobile towers in the area remain functional during winters.
Deputy commissioners of Kulgam, Srinagar, Baramulla, Kupwara, Pulwama, Shopian and other districts of Kashmir have also formulated an action plan for the winters and also snow clearance from roads.