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Social Reformist Appeals to PM Modi to Save Glaciers in Leh From Extinction

© AP Photo / Mukhtar KhanA glacier sits on a mountaintop on the way to remote Kharnak village in the cold desert region of Ladakh, India, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022.
A glacier sits on a mountaintop on the way to remote Kharnak village in the cold desert region of Ladakh, India, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. - Sputnik India, 1920, 23.01.2023
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Engineer-turned-education reformer Sonam Wangchuk, whose life story inspired the Bollywood film “3 Idiots,” is famous for his inventions and reforming the education system in Ladakh.
Renowned educationist and innovator Sonam Wangchuk from India's Ladakh union territory has decided to go on a five-day-long hunger strike in -40 Celsius temperature at the Khardung-la Pass from January 26, when India celebrates Republic Day, to seek Prime Minister Narendra Modi's support for two crucial issues.
First, the protection of glaciers and the ecology of the cold desert region amid climate change and global warming.
Second, the demand for the inclusion of Ladakh under the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
© Photo : Twitter/@Wangchuk66Sonam Wangchuk shared a glimpse of a test run done ahead of a five-day-long hunger strike starting January 26 at the Khardung-la Pass in India's Leh union territory.
Sonam Wangchuk shared a glimpse of a test run done ahead of a five-day-long hunger strike starting January 26 at the Khardung-la Pass in India's Leh union territory. - Sputnik India, 1920, 23.01.2023
Sonam Wangchuk shared a glimpse of a test run done ahead of a five-day-long hunger strike starting January 26 at the Khardung-la Pass in India's Leh union territory.

Save Glaciers from Extinction

Wangchuk, who shot to fame for inventing the Ice Stupa technique that creates artificial glaciers used for storing winter water, urged PM Modi to protect Ladakh and other Himalayan regions from "industrial exploitation," which has been a major cause of glacier melting that is creating a water scarcity problem.
"Recent studies from Kashmir University and other research organizations have concluded that glaciers in Leh-Ladakh will finish nearly to its two-third if they are not properly taken care of. The glaciers surrounded by highways and human activities are melting at a comparatively faster rate," Wangchuk said.
He pointed out that one of the main causes of global warming and climate change in Ladakh is local pollution and emissions, and demanded that there should be minimal human activity so that glaciers can remain intact. He also highlighted the need to adopt ways of sustainable development.
Wangchuk also raised concerns about the likelihood of businesses expanding in Leh, which has further increased the burden on limited resources, including water.
He said, “Mining and such activities could melt glaciers."

Ladakh's Inclusiveness Under 6th Schedule of Indian Constitution

Locals in Leh Ladakh have been holding rallies and protests, and politicians have also raised the issue in the parliament, demanding the inclusion of the Leh union territory under the Sixth Schedule to protect the land, employment, and cultural identity of the local population.
The Sixth Schedule provision grants indigenous tribes significant autonomy, and it currently applies to the northeastern states of India, including Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram.
“Ladakh has nearly 95 percent of tribal population, while the Constitution seeks 50 per cent of tribal population in an area for applicability of Sixth Schedule. Anticipations were being made that Ladakh would soon be included. Union Minister Arjun Munda had also given assurances,” Wangchuk said in the video.
The primary Scheduled Tribes (STs) in Ladakh are Balti Beda, Bot (or Boto), Brokpa (or Drokpa, Dard, Shin), Changpa, Garra, Mon, and Purigpa.
The Ladakh region also has several distinct cultural heritages of communities such as the Drokpa, Balti, and Changpa, among others, which, Wangchuk says need to be preserved and promoted.
Wangchuk appealed to PM Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to initiate talks on the matter.
Ahead of his five-day protest, Wangchuk tweeted a test-run with #SaveLadakh, which shows him lying around in -17 Celsius temperature at Khardunngla.
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