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Founded in the 90's, LTOCL is a strong union of Ladakh taxicab drivers. We fight for justice, rights, respect and dignity for the over 6000 licensed men. Our members come from every community, garage, and neighborhood. Through organizing, direct action, legal and health services, media presence, political advocacy, and the cultivation of allies and supporters, LTOCL is a multi-ethnic, multi- generational union — builds power for one of the most visible, yet vulnerable, immigrant workforces in the city of Leh.
Subject : Protection of Employment and Business Opportunities of the local Tribal population of Ladakh.
1. Ladakh is a remote, mountain –locked region of J&K State and remains cut-off from the rest of the country for over seven months. Due to its geographical lilmitations and severe climatic conditions the local economy remains at subsistence level with very limited scope for employment generation for the growing number of educated youth.
2. However, with the opening of the region for tourism, a window of opportunities was provided for generation of employment and avenues of entrepreneurship and the local people have invested their hard earned saving and resources for putting up accommodation facilities and tourist transport services. A large number of educated un-employed are now engaged in providing various tourist facilities including tourist transport service.
3. But in recent years there has been relentless pressure by big business and vested interests from outside Ladakh to usurp even this vital resource- base from the local people and they are getting involved in aggressive exploitation with all kinds of means, fair or unfair. This development is strongly impacting the investment opportunities and employment resources of the region thus putting the interests of the local scheduled tribe population at risk.
4. In particular there has been greater inroads in the tourist transport sector by several private operators from outside Ladakh by providing self-driven vehicles to tourist right from home cities, commercial taxis in the garb of privately owned vehicles and other similarly un–authorized transport services which operate all over the region without any benefit to the local people in any way, thus robbing away the business and employment opportunities which rightfully belongs to the Tribal population of Ladakh.
5.Preservation of the cultural heritage and environment of Ladakh is another concern which is adversely affected by the influx of large number of vehicles from outside the region and conducting tours without any regard for the fragile environment. Driving of these vehicle in the wild life havitats of Tsomoriri Lake/Pangong Lake or in the Nubra valley, in the vicinity of the monasteries etc. showing rowdy behavior, disturbing the tranquil atmosphere of the destination, driving the vehicles into the lakes and disturbing the bird habitats, leaving piles of garbage and broken beer bottles along the routes etc, is causing great anxiety among the local tribal people for whom these natural resources are basic for their economic survival.
In view of the developing situation as cutlined above, a meeting was convened on 23rd July 2015 at Leh under the chairmanship of the Chairman/Chief Executive Councilor, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh, along with all the religious, political leaders, different stakeholders of Tourist trade societies and transporters of Leh district.