July 18, 2022
JAMMU – The Administration of Union Territory of Ladakh and the National Monuments Authority (NMA) has initiated steps to seek a declaration of the “Indus River” as an UNESCO World Heritage. A conference was recently organised in Leh for this purpose.
Secretary, Tourism and Culture Department, Ladakh, Kacho Mehboob Ali Khan spoke about the significance of the river Indus as it signifies a living monument for human civilization and a natural heritage for Ladakh to be proud of.
He also added that the efforts being made for the declaration of the “Indus River” as UNESCO World Heritage is a great initiative of the Chairman, NMA, Tarun Vijay as river banks in Ladakh are the source of livelihood and habitation.
Lieutenant Governor, Radha Krishna Mathur (in his video message) spoke about the importance of the Indus river and termed it the “Lifeline of Ladakh”. He said that the Culture Department, Ladakh also plans to publish a Coffee Table Book on the river Indus so as to bring to light history and to generate awareness about the mighty “Indus”.
Addressing the gathering, Chairman, LAHDC Leh, Tashi Gyalson stated, “Indus river is the lifeline of the people of Ladakh in all walks. Declaring it a world heritage site would be a welcoming step but that should not lead to restricting the habitats from performing their routine way of life. We need people-friendly policies and decisions which would help in preserving the actual essence of nature as well as the fragile ecological system of Ladakh.”
He mentioned that Ladakh has huge potential in the agriculture and horticulture sectors along the banks of the Indus. While speaking about the consequences due to global warming, he stressed keeping the rivers clean and free from pollution.
While speaking about the history of the Sindh River, MP Ladakh, Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, stated that Sindh is the basis for Hind and Hindustan. He highlighted the need to consider the usage of water and developmental activities along and around the river in case the river Indus is declared as UNESCO World heritage.
“Ladakh defines India,” said Tarun Vijay, Chairman, National Monuments Authority of India. He extended his gratitude to the Lieutenant Governor, UT Ladakh, Radha Krishna Mathur for his support. He underlined that people need to realize the impact rivers have on the living world and to save our rivers from water and river pollution.
Other scholars present during the conference also spoke about the known history of the Indus River, its present scenario, Ladakh’s sacred relationship with the river, etc. They highlighted that everything should be kept in balance with nature else it will result in irreparable loss. Ladakhi people depend on the Indus River for their way of life and their livelihood. Therefore, they commit to restoring natural river flows and cleaning up polluted water for people and nature to thrive.
The conference was also attended by Padmashri Morup Namgyal; Sangeet Natak Akademi Awardee, Mipham Otsal; Ex CEC, LAHDC Leh, Rigzin Spalbar; Ex CEC, LAHDC Leh, Gyal Wangyal; Members from National Monuments Authority Hemraj R. Kamdar and Prof. (Dr.) M. Kailasa Rao; President, Christian Community, Leh Dechen Chamga; President, Anjuman e Moinul Islam, Leh Dr Abdul Qayoom; BDC Chairperson, Skalzang Dorjay; prominent historian and writer Abdul Gani Sheikh; Assistant Professor, Stanzin Mingyur; Assistant Professor, Khenpo Lobzang Phuntsog; Khenpo Konchok Thupstan; Tsering Tashi, LBA; Sonam Wangchuk, LBA; Cultural Activist, Uttarakhand, Shambhavi; other prominent scholars, and guests.