There is saying in Hindi â€œKutte ki haddi ka sawaal haiâ€. There was a dog which found a dry bone of some animal lying in jungle. He picked it up happily and sat in secluded place and started chewing it. There was nothing inside the bone. But the dog continued to chew it and his gums started bleeding. The taste of blood satisfied the dog. He continued to chew the bone and enjoy the taste of his own blood.
This is the condition of an ordinary Himachali at present. He is satisfied with the taste of his own blood oblivious of the fact that it is his own blood he is sucking. Today we find that the powers that may be, are happy with surveys of Indian states and results thereof. It has been concluded that Himachal is the happiest state in the Union of India. It will be. As I said above that Himachalis are happy sucking their own blood.
India attained freedom in the year 1947 and Himachal became a full fledged state in 1971 if I am not wrong. All the states had an agenda of their progress but Himachal had none. There was no agenda of bringing the state at par, if not more than, the neighboring states of Punjab, J&K and Haryana. We had no plans for development. We never had any vision as to how our state could become a developed state. Our Himachalis continued to struggle on individual basis for their upliftment . As a result we continued to flee to plains to find greener pastures. Thereby becoming displaced persons. Today one can find huge Himachali populations in Delhi, Chandigarh and even Bombay. They are not settled there out of choice, but out of their helplessness to find even the basic amenities in our beloved state. We look back towards Himachal with longing and ache in our heart. Can an old man of sixty think of going back to Himachal and settle there for good ? No. Definitely not.
The reason is not far to seek. If he falls sick he has to be rushed to PGI Chandigarh or some private hospitals in Punjab. Can an average Himachali afford to do so ? No. And so he dies unattended in some remote village. Why so ? Himachal has the best climate for recuperating from diseases, but lacks medical facilities. Today Himachal could have been a Health state with a number of state of art hospitals. We have none. Thanks to poor vision of our leadership in sixties, seventies and even till today. Even now we are finding hospitals mushrooming in dirty climates of Punjab and Delhi but not in Himachal. Half the illness of any person could be cured by the climate itself provided a person gets quality medical attention here.
Then one can see the pathetic condition of transportation in Himachal. One has to see the condition of national highway from Pathankot to Manali, to get the idea of transport system in our state. This Highway came into prominence during Indo â€“ China conflict in 1962, when the army used it to carry heavy artillery to Lahul Spiti. After the conflict was over, this highway lost its importance notwithstanding the fact that it is till date the only road which can be effectively used by the Army to check any nefarious designs of China. But who cares. Perhaps one should wish that another war breaks out between India and China so that this highway gets his due from the NHAI. This is just one road. No other road can be said to be of standard except Simla Chandigarh road. But of course it is utilized by all the big wigs to visit Delhi and Chandigarh.
The less said about the railways is better. British Government built two railway lines during the Raj. One to Shimla for the obvious reason that they wanted it for shifting their capital during summers to Shimla. The second line was built from Pathankot to Joginder Nagar in 1918. Since then neither it has been broadened by a single inch nor extended by a single inch. One could see the proceedings of Railway Budgets in Parliament from 1950 onwards. There have been no demand raised by Himachal Members of Parliament for providing rail facilities to this state. This despite the fact that there had been MPâ€™s from Congress as well as opposition parties, sitting out the discussions on railway budget year after year. There can be trains to Lalooâ€™s in laws village but none for Himachal. Then the trains were extended to Jammu after that state persuade the Centre for providing railway line to it. The trains which used to terminate at Pathankot were suddenly not even touching Pathankot. One can only see the plight of our Defense personnel coming home for annual leaves, carrying their luggage on their heads from Chakki Bank to Pathankot, to gauge the neglect of welfare of our people. Who is to blame ? Centre ? Yes to some extent that they are not looking after the interests of Himachal and our facilities are being sacrificed to appease non appeasable Kashmiris. Thousands of crores are being spent to take train to Srinagar. At whose cost ? At our cost. This will give a big boost to their economy and increase their tourism potential. We will lose whatever little tourist traffic we have. But who cares. Perhaps the Himachali youth have to take to arms to get the attention of centre, and I assure you that they are quite capable of that. Our MPâ€™s are happy singing praises of railway budgets year after year. They forget that in India the basic fundamental of development is railway. We have climate where we can grow anything that is grown on this planet. But where do we take it for marketing in the absence of basic transport facility of railway ?
Friends I will tell you more if only you have time to listen to. Why our Electricity Board is not getting its due from other states? Why our people whose lands have been submerged under water by big dams, providing irrigation facilities and power to other states, are begging for aid from centre for their very day to day survival?