The south bank of Pangong Tso — one of the two locations from where Indian and Chinese troops disengaged in February has become a “no-man’s land” for the local cattle grazers of Chushul in Eastern Ladakh, the area’s councillor said.
The Ministry of Defence in a communication to Konchok Stanzin, councillor from Chushul, has said that “Due to the present operational situation in Ladakh, grazers have been asked to restrict their cattle movements.”
Mr. Stanzin told The Hindu that in April 2020, the areas around the foothills of Helmet Top, Black Top and Gurung Hill were accessible to the grazers but are out of bounds this time.
Crucial for cattle
“There are around 180 households here and of them, around 60 depend on livestock rearing for a living. The animals need to be taken to these locations for winter grazing as this is also the breeding season. If they do not get good quality fodder, the livestock could die,” Mr. Stanzin said.
He said he had raised the issue with the Ministry of Defence in January.
On April 2, he received a reply from Maj. Gen. K. Narayanan, Joint Secretary (Army and TA) in Delhi, which said, “Non-delineation of LAC [Line of Actual Control] on ground leads to incorrect interpretation of alignment by civilians, which may result in own grazers inadvertently crossing over to the Chinese side. Moreover, due to the present operational situation in Ladakh, grazers have been asked to restrict their cattle movements.”
The disengagement at Pangong Tso (lake) where Indian and Chinese troops were in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation at north and south banks since June and August last year respectively, was announced by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in parliament on February 11.