It is a known fact that for ensuring that a particular region sees development and transformation, effective connectivity—be that road or air—always remains imperative. And keeping in view what the Government has been intending to execute in Ladakh, it needs to improve on the connectivity through all means because in the modern era having the region cut off from the world, looks odd and does not go well with the Government’s idea of transforming Ladakh socio-economically.
There sure is air connectivity for Leh from Srinagar well in place, but that needs to be notched up. To begin with, the authorities need to ensure that the flights headed to Leh are operated on subsidized rates so that the common man could afford the same and won’t really have to depend on road connectivity which is out of the question during the peak winter season. There have to be regular flights to Leh if the authorities are interested in boosting the connectivity further. At the same time, there is a dire need for ensuring regular cargo services to Leh—that too on subsidized rates—because that would, without any doubt, give a push to the economic activities in the UT of Ladakh.
We are sure—given the pace of works on different ongoing projects—that the milestone of having all-weather road connectivity from Srinagar to Leh would be achieved soon, but until that happens, the Government has to think about levelling up, making effective and affordable other ways of connectivity for the people in general and the economic and social progress of the region like Ladakh in particular. The Government has a responsibility of ensuring seamless connectivity everywhere, and while other states and UTs are witnessing improvements almost on a daily basis, it would be quite unfair if the people of Ladakh are deprived of the same any longer.
The people of Ladakh are no doubt resilient, but to see their economy grow, their decades-old hardships coming to an end, is their right and they should get it at any cost. The time has come to enhance all sorts of connectivity to Ladakh starting with ensuring regular, subsided passenger flights and cargo services—shouldn’t be an issue at all!