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Tibetans in Miao Elect Settlement Officer

Dharamsala, 24 October 2003: Tibetans in Choepheling Settlement in Miao in Arunachal Pradesh State of northeastern India have for the first time elected their settlement officer, according to information made available by the Tibetan Election Commission here today.

After the final election took place on 28 September this year, Mr. Thupten Tsering with 315 votes was declared the winner from a field of four candidates. Mr. Thupten Tsering got 51.55% of the votes cast. Mr. Tsering will keep the post for three years.

Miao Choepheling Settlement is the fifth Tibetan community to democratically elect their settlement head or the welfare officer. So far, Tibetans in Bir (Derge), Kamrao, Solan and Pondoh Tashiling have elected their administrative leaders.

According to the Department of Home of the Central Tibetan Administration, in 1962, a temporary Settlement was set up in Changlang for about 1133 refugees. Government of India perceiving the difficulties faced by the Tibetan refugees, later shifted this settlement to Miao in 1976. This settlement falls under the protected area. Free movement of the foreigner is not permitted in this settlement. Majorities of the settlers are engaged in farming. They cultivate maize, millet, barley, potatoes, red pepper and apple. Due to low per capital land holding and lack of irrigation facilities, technical know-how yield are very low and do not fetch enough income. Today the settlement has a Tibetan population of over 2,000.

Here in Dharamsala, the Working Committee of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile this afternoon summoned the Minister and Secretary of the Department of Home for consultation on the situation of Tibetan settlements. This information was provided by the secretariat of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile (Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies) although no formal statement was issued concerning the meeting.

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