Ladakh, which is known for its remote mountain beauty and distinct culture, is a hugely popular tourist destination in India, with 303,023 domestic tourist arrivals in 2021.
Ladakh, located at the northernmost part of India, is the largest and second least populous union territory and was formed on October 31, 2019. The diverse topology, with high-altitude cold desert located in the Great Himalayas, and picturesque locations make it a favoured destination among domestic and foreign tourists. The Pangong Tso Lake and world’s highest motorable road, Khardongla (18,350 feet), are the key tourist attractions for all tourists.
Ladakh has ~320 clear sunny days and receives an average daily global solar radiation of 2022 kWh/m2/annum; these factors have made Ladakh a favourable spot for solar power generation in India. Also, abundance of wind resource due to valley terrain landform creates a potential for harnessing wind energy in Ladakh.
In November 2021, Minister of Power, New and Renewable energy Mr. Raj Kumar Singh stated that Ladakh will provide additional 20,000 acres of land to set up a new 10 Gigawatt (GW) energy park. In February 2021, an MoU was signed between Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and the UT administration of Ladakh to develop a geothermal field development project with a power potential of 200 MW. The project will be implemented in three phases where Phase-1 includes the development of 1 MW plant with ONGC Energy Centre is the implementing agency for this pilot project. Phase-2 involves deeper and lateral exploration of geothermal reservoir by drilling optimal number of wells and setting up of a higher capacity demo plant in Ladakh. Phase-3 is designed as the final commercial project as per discovered capacity during Phase-2.
In January 2021, the central government and the Central Water Commission (CWC) sanctioned eight hydropower projects of 144 MW on the Indus river and its tributaries in Ladakh. These projects will be developed in the districts of Leh and Kargil in compliance with the Indus Waters Treaty with Pakistan.
In June 2020, the government announced its plan to achieve 100% telecom connectivity in all parts of Ladakh. The project will be executed by the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), using the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF). Also, in February 2020, Bharti Airtel rolled out its 4G and 2G networks in 26 villages and became the first operator to bring mobile broadband connectivity to these villages in the high terrain region.
In January 2020, a MoU was signed between NITI Aayog and UT administration of Ladakh to develop a strategic plan and provide support to specific projects, especially tourism, solar energy and others, which will be under the public-private partnership mode. Under this MoU, NITI Aayog will be supporting the UT’s administration through its key initiative ‘Development Support Services to States for Infrastructure Projects (D3S-i)’.
To provide grid connectivity to the far-flung villages of Ladakh, the central government approved intra-state transmission project at a revised estimated cost of Rs. 1,309.71 crore (US$ 179.51 million) in May 2021.
In October 2021, BRO announced five major road infrastructure projects to boost connectivity in a Ladakh.
In August 2021, BRO constructed the highest motorable road in Eastern Ladakh at 19,300 ft. to boost the socio-economic condition and promote tourism in the union territory.
In June 2021, Minister of Defence Mr. Raj Nath Singh virtually inaugurated 11 bridges in Ladakh to boost border connectivity in the union territory.
In July 2021, the Union Cabinet approved establishment of an Integrated Multipurpose Corporation in Ladakh to ensure socio-economic development of the union territory.
In June 2021, Convergence Energy Services Limited (CESL) signed an agreement with the Administration of Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh to implement energy-efficient programmes and solar power projects for clean & efficient energy and make the UT carbon neutral.
In June 2021, CESL signed an MoU with the Union Territory of Ladakh to expand its decentralised solar portfolio in the UT.
To make Leh self-sufficient in power, Ladakh, in collaboration with the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), initiated a carbon- neutral initiative for implementation of 50 MW solar storage plant in the UT.
In April 2021, a centre of excellence and wellness was established by the Indian Army in collaboration with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) to guide the youth of Ladakh for one year in preparing them for various medical and engineering examinations.
In June 2021, the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) announced to implement Van Dhan Vikas Kendra (VDVK) in the Union Territory of Ladakh and operationalise the formerly sanctioned 10 VDVK clusters.
Indian government established Integrated Multi-purpose infrastructure Development Corporation which will work on industry, tourism, transport and marketing of local products and handicraft in Union Territory of Ladakh