‘All Is Not Well’: Sonam Wangchuk To Sit On Five-Day ‘Climate Fast’ For Ladakh’s Glaciers & Sixth Schedule

Image Credit: Instagram/ Sonam Wangchuk, Wikimedia

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‘All Is Not Well’: Sonam Wangchuk To Sit On Five-Day ‘Climate Fast’ For Ladakh’s Glaciers & Sixth Schedule

Through the five-day climate fast at -40 degree celsius, Ladakh Activist and education reformer Sonam Wangchuk seek constitutional safeguards for the glaciers in the ecologically-fragile Ladakh region. He has appealed to PM Modi to look into the matter.

Ladakh icon and activist Sonam Wangchuk has decided to start a five-day fast from Republic Day (January 26) over climate issues concerning the cold desert region. Through his fast, Wangchuk seeks constitutional safeguards for the glaciers in ecologically-fragile Ladakh from the government of India.

It is said to be one of the most difficult fast that anybody has gone through as Wangchuk has decided to hold it in Khardungla Pass, which is at the height of 18,000 ft in a temperature of -40 degree celsius. The prominent innovator and recipient of the prestigious award, Ramon Magsaysay, could have done the five-day-long fast in Leh, but he decided to perform it at the heights.

He made the announcement through a video he posted on his YouTube channel. In the video titled, 'All Is Not Well In Ladakh,' he also mentioned, "Here temperature goes down to —40*C. I will do a hunger strike in the shades of these glaciers, expressing solidarity with them to give a message to the world. If I survive, I will meet you again."

Know More About Wangchuk's 'Climate-Fast'

Sonam Wangchuk decided to conduct the five-day climate fast after he realised the ecological threats on glaciers in Ladakh. In his 13-minute video, he stressed that if the current carelessness continues and Ladakh is refrained from getting the required protection from the industries, the glaciers in the cold desert will become extinct, thus creating a significant problem for the country.

He pointed out that if measures are not taken timely, tourism, commerce, and industries will flourish in Ladakh, eventually finishing the cold desert. A study by Kashmir University also highlights that the Leh-Ladakh glaciers will melt nearly to its two-thirds if no one takes care of the same. The glaciers surrounded by highways and other human activities are melting faster than other glaciers, which are far away from human interference.

Protect Ladakh From 'Industrial Exploitation'

He appealed to prime minister Narendra Modi to protect glaciers from industrial exploitation, as glaciers are the lifeline for the people of Ladakh. He also appealed to the people to be equally concerned about climate change.

He mentioned that citizens should collectively look after the sustainable mode of living, using the resources for development goals and preserving them simultaneously for the coming generations. Notably, he highlighted that PM Narendra Modi should intervene to safeguard Ladakh's environment and ecosystem under the sixth schedule of the Indian constitution.

He demanded to include Ladakh in the sixth schedule of the constitution as the Ladakh region has over 95 per cent tribal population, above the requirements. According to Wangchuk, after the Indian government abrogated Article 370 in 2019, the people presumed that the government of India would give a sixth schedule to Ladakh.

As China exploited Tibet, the people of Ladakh didn't want the Union Territory to be opened up for mining and industrial activities. Several other measures to safeguard the ecosystem can be achieved with the inclusion of the sixth schedule. He concluded the video by declaring about climate fast and appealing to PM Narendra Modi to intervene in the matter.

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Writer : Ronit Kumar Singh
Editor : Shiva Chaudhary
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