Ex-Settlemen Officer Mr. Lodoe Gyaltsen in conversation with a nomade in Jangthang under the jurisdiction of Sonamling Tibetan Settlement, Leh Ladakh
A brief story of Jangthang Tibetan Settlement, Ladakh
Jangthang Tibetan settlement was established in 1982. The settlers of this settlement are nomadic groups consisting of traditional herders who move with their animals. In difficult years, they suffer heavy losses of livestocks. There is no electricity in any of the clusters. The life of these refugees are extremely difficult. Their general lives are very hard for these refugees, and on top of this their life gets harder particularly during the long and cold winter months where temperature hover below subzero.
The Tibetan refugee settlement in Changthang is located at 9 different places such as Hanley, Chumur, Sumdho, Nyima, Samedh, Puga, Kharnak. The whole region has an average elevation of 4700 meters and its temperature varies between -6° to -35° Celsius in winter. Mountainous terrain with nude and rugged landscape devoid of any vegetation. It is cold arid region of western Himalayas. The average distance from Leh city is about 300 Km to any of these clusters.
No of Villages in the settlement
This settlement consists of 9 clusters spread across the Changthang plain which has total area of 25,000 sq.m and are one of the least developed Tibetan settlements in India.
Facilities in the settlement:
The Tibetan Children Village (TCV), an autonomous educational institute has opened schools in some of the bigger and with more clusters. TCV has also one health clinic in the area.
Group Leaders (Gopa):
Each of the 9 clusters possess an elected leaders whose job is to act as an intermediary with relevant authorities, pass on information, settle disputes and collect money. Gopa are not elected for their policy-making idea, nor do they campaign on certain issue. These gopa are chosen on the basis of their strength of personality and once ability to stand before the interest of their cluster. The duty of the gopa is more or less like the representative, but on smaller and more personal scale.