Lagyab Township in Border Regions of Tibet: An eye-opener for many countries

It strives to lead in Development in Border Regions of Tibet

Zhang Zhao, Vice secretary of communist party and Mayor of the township, Lagyab of Lhozhag County under Shannan City, Tibet addressing forum (please use any of 1 pic)

The 2016 Forum on the Development of Tibet, China which was held in Tibet, China is an eye opener for many countries for their systematic approach and development. All 130 scholars, officials and correspondents from more than 30 countries and regions visited at a border township named Lagyab of Lhozhag County under Shannan City to know ground reality of its makeover.

Re-built two story brick-concrete modern houses in Lagyab village
Lagyab is located in the southeast, 112 km from Lhozhag County and 396 km from Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region, height above sea level is 3,675 meters. It is the remotest among the seven townships in Lhozhag County and bordering the Kingdom of Bhutan in the north. The village was established as a special border village approved by China and State Council. It lies in the subtropical zone with an area of 854 square kilometers. The 223 villagers in the 69 households shoulder the responsibilities to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity, and fulfil the arduous tasks of border-defence and border-control.

It may sound unbelievable but it’s true, this village has really turned out to be a role model to others. Utmost care was taken to develop this village in systematic way. The village indeed is a case study to many developing country including India and to other countries too.

Zhang Zhao, Vice secretary of communist party and Mayor of the township, Lagyab of Lhozhag County under Shannan City spoke to Mumbai Messenger and said “With the help of central leadership and kind support, we will continually regard development as the key to solving problems; we will stabilize the growth and reform the structure by making use of industrial advantages, paving the way for an environmentally- friendly economy. All in all, Lagyab will achieve substantial development and long period of stability through our efforts”.

Past backdrop:
In the past, Lagyab villagers had a hard life and lived in run-down houses, living from meal-to-meal. Villagers were mainly lumberjacks, cutting wood and selling the timber. In recent years, local bodies with the help of central government paid more attention to the living conditions of the citizens. Nowadays, more trees have been planted and the mountains have turned greener than before, and locals have moved into new houses.

Lagyab villagers get subsidies from the government, like special subsidies for people living in border regions, low-income living allowances and so on. Under all these preferential policies, when it comes to the handling of funds, local bodies keep updates on changes in the population of the township and supervise the whole process to ensure that the money goes to the right person.

Local farming:
Lagyab is not rich in a diverse range of resources, but it has abundant bamboo and a big potential to grow agricultural produce under the trees. Local body developed bamboo and wood handicraft production and started the plantation of wood’s ear, a type of fungus that is an important ingredient in Chinese dishes. The bamboo and wood handicraft production contributed a lot to the villagers’ incomes.

Local marketing:
In order to strengthen the management of these productions, 108 villagers voluntarily established a market-oriented organization. They took their crafts to the association, and the association arranged two salesmen to sell their products with good profits. This operation mode has changed villager’s old ideas of producing and selling products all by themselves. This way of marketing has reduced the cost of sales and increased their income, which is welcomed by the local villagers so they are more concentrating on productions instead of personally selling their products.

Livelihood, comfortable housing and infrastructure:
The local body gave priority to peoples livelihoods and build a beautiful township under China’s comfortable housing project. Now they have beautiful houses all re-built. Now they live in 2-story brick-concrete modern houses. Before 2012, there was no road connecting Lagyab Village with the outside. In 2012, the first road was built, so cars could drive to Lagyab. Now pack animals have become a thing of history, and an asphalt road is under construction. Similarly rail connectivity is easy mode of transport so villagers can reach far off distance places.

The local body worked on enriching villager’s leisure time. They made round the clock power supply available and installed TV receivers for every household. The television coverage is 100%. The township has a newly built and well-equipped Culture Center, where, in both the off-season and holidays, villagers can read and entrain themselves.

The local administration tries to provide education service to all pupils. The border town lacks teachers so local government sets aside money to hire teachers to let all school age children go to school. In recent years, they have granted funds to herdsmen to ensure their children go to university if they pass the national entrance exam.

Medical services:
The local administration tries their best to provide medical services to all villagers. They introduced the pension insurance policies and a rural medical care scheme. Medical staff here often delivers medicines and medical care to the patients home, so that they do not have to leave home for minor sicknesses.

Living and working conditions:
Living and working conditions in Lagyab have improved a lot as a result of the livelihood projects in the past years. The villagers’ houses have become bigger, they all modern amenities like television sets, refrigerators, washing machines, and some of them even have cars.

Life is getting better, and their awareness of environment protection has increased. Villagers have voluntarily joined in the patrolling team to protect the forest, and the phenomenon of deforestation is nowhere to be seen. Nowadays, a greener Lagyab is full of life features its unique charm in the borders as the living condition has been improved.

Officially named as city:
Shannan was officially named as a city this May. The local government calls for its 360,000 residents to work together for a better-off society by seizing new opportunities. It is Lagyab’s goal and responsibility to be the first in the border areas of Tibet to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

Report: Sitaram Mewati (Lagyab – Shannan City, Lhasa Tibet)