LEH : Nearly three months have passed since the declaration of Ladakh as a Union Territory, but on the eve of bifurcation, it finds itself apprehensive. With the end of the tourist season, the Leh market is deserted as a handful of tourists remain.
Rigzen Nurboo, serving coffee to his customers at My Cafe in the main market, believes that most of the people are happy. "However, it is no secret that with the market being open for all, the business will be affected. Not to forget the rise in competition,"said Nurboo.
Many are adopting the wait and watch policy, some out of frustration of becoming a UT and others unable to comprehend what lies ahead.
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"I’m not happy with the UT status. The demand for UT status started at a time when Ladakh had nothing but today it is developing at a tremendous rate," said Stanzin (name changed on request), currently preparing for her PhD in sociology.
Those preparing for the Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission (KAS), now, feel left at the crossroads. "There were two reasons why I wanted to prepare for KAS. One, it would have given me the chance to serve the state and the other is that the competition was less," said Padma Yangchan, who isn’t sure what to do next.
In the lanes of Nowshera Bazaar, the owner of a shop selling fabrics asked, “How long can one challenge the competitors from outside? We might stand our ground but not everyone has the means to do the same.” With Kashmir being the priority, many feel that Ladakh has become an accidental beneficiary of UT.
Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday sanctioned the regional centre of an institute to study Himalayan ecology in Ladakh, which is set to become a UT on Thursday