From statehood to UT
The state of Jammu and Kashmir stands no more. The region has not only been converted into a Union territory but bifurcated to carve out Ladakh as a separate UT that too without any legislature.
According to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, the appointed day for the two UTs is October 31 and these will come into existence in the midnight (Wednesday-Thursday), nearly three months after the announcement in Rajya Sabha.
This is for the first time that a state is converted into two UTs even though there are numerous example of a UT becoming a full state or a state bifurcating into two states.
The present Union government’s decision and subsequent approval of Parliament to abrogate the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and its bifurcation into two UTs was taken to redraw the map and future of a region at the centre of a protracted militancy movement.
The August 5 decision was taken 72 years after the then ruler of the princely state, Maharaja Hari Singh, executed the Instrument of Accession on October 26, 1947, agreeing to be part of the Union of India.
According to the Act, the UT of Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature like Puducherry while Ladakh will be a UT without legislature like Chandigarh and both the UTs will be headed by two separate Lieutenant Governors (LG).
The Centre will be in direct control of the police and the law and order in Jammu and Kashmir from Thursday when it becomes a UT, while the land will be under the control of the elected government. The UT of Ladakh will be under the direct control of the central government which will administer the high altitude region through the LG.
Even though the Union government has been maintaining that Jammu and Kashmir will see the restoration of its statehood but the reversion will not restore the entire geographical area back in its fold as the Ladakh region has been converted into a UT that too without a legislature.
The government’s decision to carve out two UT’s has been backed by strong claims and promises of ensuring development and growth of the region according to the demands and needs of the modern era.
However, since the decision has been announced on August 5, the region has been under a severe clampdown bringing not only losses to the tune of thousands of crores but loss of job avenues as well.
The various sectors that are the mainstay of the region’s economy are in doll drums with tourism, horticulture and handicrafts taking a beating. Even the private sector which includes telecom, IT and the manufacturing has seen a closure that has completed three months as on today.
Under such circumstances the centre has to walk an extra mile to ensure the people that its promises are not hoax but a reality that will be proven in a shortest possible time frame.