The Union home ministry has decided to restart the construction work on a lift irrigation canal along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh that was stopped by the Indian Army after the Chinese army objected to the project.
The decision was taken after locals protested for about 20 days the stopping of the work on the water channel that was being done under Operation Sadhbhavana by the army at Demchok.
“We are concerned about the development along borders. The home ministry assured us that construction activity will be taken up under BAPD (Border Area Development Programme). A team of ministry is likely to visit the area next month,” a senior administrative official, who did not wish to be named, said.
China does not view the LAC in Ladakh sector as “clearly demarcated”and usually objects to construction activity along the same. In 2014, India had protested against the construction of a Chinese road link in the same area because it was reportedly being done in Indian territory.
Two days back, locals and the leaders of the area held a meeting with the district administration where they were assured of resumption of the work. According to the district administration, the home ministry has said it will fund the resumption of the work under BAPD.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had objected to the construction of the water channels and even pitched tents along the LAC to ensure the work is not resumed. The local commander had said the orders to stop the construction activity had come from Delhi.
In March, the Indian Army had directed civil authorities to stop laying a road in Chumar area of Ladakh along the LAC after the Chinese army objected. Leh district authorities had written a letter to the home ministry seeking directions on the resumption of the work. The work was being done under BAPD.
Sources said that officials from the home ministry will visit both Demchok and Chumar.
Ladakh shares a 225-km Line of Control and a 955-km LAC with China. Sources said that the neighbouring country’s objections to development work along the border are likely to figure in talks during defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s three-day visit to China in April.
The armies of the two countries had faced off at Chumar in 2014 when PLA troops pitched tents in Indian territory and New Delhi rushed in military reinforcements to counter them.
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