Tribune News Service
Nainital, May 16
The political establishment in Uttarakhand came in for heavy criticism from a group of intellectuals, social activists and people from other streams who had come together to analyse where the dream of having an “own ideal state” had evaporated. The group had got together to discuss the present socio-political and socio-economic scenario in the state and what needs to be done to put things on the right track.
The participants were almost unanimous in their opinion that political parties and successive governments in the state have let down people and have not done anything to turn their aspirations into a ground reality.
The most vocal and emotionally charged criticism came from the eminent folk poet and cultural artist Girish Tewari, who is fondly known as Girda across the state. His contribution in making the state of Uttarakhand become a reality is unparalleled.
“The state was carved out in haste. The situation was such that neither the receivers of statehood and nor those giving the statehood of Uttarakhand were prepared with a future road map. In fact, the creation of all three states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand was a result of a political conspiracy that was going on across the nation at that point of time. Today, all three states are frowning,” he said.
He hit out at the present government for making the traditional Kumbh fair a playground for those in the state Assembly. He also denounced the political parties for their lack of will on the issue of having a permanent capital in the state.
”No one has the guts even to say that Dehradun will remain the permanent capital. The state was made not for those living in palatial houses or for those owning vast tracts of land. Instead, it was made with the notion that the Chief Ministers would regularly move in rural areas and the public representatives would address the grievances of a common person. But what we have got is useless talk. I want to ask those in power where were you when the struggle was on and where are you now? Those who were not to be seen anywhere at that time are now enjoying the fruits,” said Girda.
Social activist Mohan Pathak, who is involved in carrying out a movement for the rights of unemployed educated youth, pointed that things would not improve unless educated youth were provided with employment opportunities.
Senior mediaperson and statehood activist Rajiv Lochan Sah pointed to the continuing emigration from rural areas and people abandoning agriculture as a profession. He also called for a concerted fight by people being displaced because of hydro-power projects. He advocated that local people must have ownership rights on these projects.
Sah was also critical of those statehood activists who are seeking benefits for their contribution in the struggle for the creation of Uttarakhand.
Legal activist Bipin Chandra Bhatt said, “There is rampant corruption at the political level and even the funds of public representatives are being disbursed on the basis of commission. Development has failed to percolate to the poor section of the society”.
State Information Commissioner and former Chief Secretary RS Tolia, who was also present at the meeting, said there was a need to do research on the law and order scenario and administration in the newly created states of the country.
He said, “We can draw solace from the fact that situation is far better than in other states.” He also said the Finance Commission had commended the fiscal management of the state and given an additional grant of Rs 1,000 crore.