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Uttaranchal bodies present blueprint of proposed state

Times of India News Service
August 24, 2000

LUCKNOW: Various social and political organisations from Uttaranchal have presented a blueprint for the proposed state’s administration and legislative functions to the Centre and the state government.

Activists of regional outfits of Uttaranchal have cautioned the UP government against encroaching upon the proposed state’s autonomy and demanded an immediate embargo on all revenue related policy decisions by the UP government in the hill region.

Leaders of the Uttarakhand Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti, Ex-Servicemen League and Parvatiya Mahasabha, which spearheaded the movement for statehood have demanded a compact ministry with a small legislature and minimum state control in the proposed state.

The chief of Parvatiya Mahasabha Col KS Rawat demanded that the capital of the new state should decentralised to avoid unnecessary expenditure. The legislative and the judicial capital should be separate and the administrative machinery should be decentralised. Instead of overstreching the resources of Nainital and Dehradun, the capital of the new state could be immediately set up at Kalagarh, which has the required infrastructure to sustain influx of government machinery and manpower, he said.

In a series of seminars and workshops held in Nainital, Almora and Dehradun speakers demanded a complete separation from Uttar Pradesh. PC Tiwari of the Sangharsh Vahini charged the UP government of conspiring to take over the assets of the hill state. “Despite the directive of the Centre to UP government to hand over all assets of the power and irrigation departments to the new state, the state government is trying to create bureaucratic hurdles in Uttaranchal’s autonomy”, he charged.

Munna Singh Chauhan and Diwakar Bhatt, both legislators, too demanded that all assets of the state government falling within the geographical limits of the new state should be under the direct control of the Uttranchal administration. Diwakar Bhatt cautioned the UP government against trying to retain its hold over the `holiday resorts’ of Nainital, Kausani and Mussoorie. “The political and bureacratic elite of UP have got addicted to the luxury of a summer holiday in the hill stations. The government clubs and estate department properties would now be under the control of the new state and a transfer of control should be clear cut,” he demanded.

Col Rawat charged the state government with launching an administrative “free-for-all”. “Forest contracts and mineral rights are up for grabs; liquor mafia from western UP has been granted blanket rights and government projects are being sealed in a desperate bid to collect as much funds as possible before the new state comes into being”, he charged.

Reports coming in from the hill areas say that property prices have skyrocketed in the few months. In the outskirts of Dehradun, Almora and Haldwani property dealers have mushroomed in anticipation of a bonanza. In the Kalagarh-Ramgarh belt too speculators are working overtime to buy prime property. But among the Sikh landlords of the Terai region the mood is sombre. Land prices have dropped by more than 25 per cent from the Rs 2.5- 4 lakh per acre rate which was being quoted last year.