Uttarakhand’s 11 year dream gone sour

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Dehra Dun : The very fact that even after 11 years of getting statehood, the successive governments in Uttarakhand have not been able to reduce, if not curb completely, migration of the villagers from the villages to the townships in the plains for a livelihood, is an indication that the basic reason for the struggle for a separate state has not been met.

Families migrating from villages, which are slowly but surely wearing a deserted look, due to the absence of even the basic amenities of potable water, education and health facilities, road connectivity and power is an indication that the 11 years have only been wasted. Things have only got from bad to worse and people do not mince words to say that they were better off when the region was part of Uttar Pradesh.

Not taking up issues on the micro level and building castles in the air and showing pipe dreams to the masses of changing their fortunes overnight has been the misdemeanor of the leaders of Uttarakhand. The tragedy has been that neither has there been a planner of repute who could take up the issues at the grassroot level, nor a leader with the political will to improve the lot of the masses, rather than going for political gimmicks with elections in mind.

The focus rather on creating the requisite infrastructure, upgrading irrigation facilities, giving a boost to agriculture and horticulture, impressing upon the people to diversify from the traditional agricultural practices and introducing hybrid cattle to give a new turn to animal husbandry on the state, was on tourism and hydel power harnessing, which failed to click.

Without improvement in the basic infrastructure and facilities tourism did not pick up as was intended and in the absence of a level playing field and rampant corruption, hydel power generation remains stagnant. Besides agitations for keeping the Ganga and its tributaries free of hydel power projects have also been an impediment in power generation in the Uttarakhand.

Pilgrimage could have been a major money spinner, but the roads to the shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Gangotri have been a major turn off. With landslides and landslips being the order of the day and pilgrims being stranded for days end on the roads, it takes more than courage to visit any one of these shrines. A need remains to strengthen the roads leading to these shrines.

Ironically, as the state goes to hustings in February next year, the issue of development will be taken up at length by leaders of the major political parties. But the primary concerns of micro development will again take a back seat, though that is the need of the hour, from where major projects can take off. Till the lot of the villagers in the hinterlands improves and they are provided the basic needs of every day living, migration will not come to a stop and villages will continue to be deserted, except for a few helpless aged and infirm left behind to fend for themselves.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand).

Jagdish has worked with India’s leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications.

A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award.

He lives in Dehra Dun.

3 Comments

  • Lt Gen Dr Mohan Bhandari says:

    In a state that was carved out of UP after a lot of struggle & sacrifices, it is now common to hear from it’s people that nothing much,especially in the hill sector, has changed in 11 years.Only changes are the Chief Ministers ,& today, the state has it’s sixth Chief Minister in so many years-at the rate of 1.9 every year!There is absolute lack of vision & perspective & every activity is based on corruption,caste & creed,region based dirty politics & petty self interests.While plain sector has shown good improvement,in the hill sector,things have gone from bad to worse.Every interest in the minds of politicians & babus has homed on to Dehradun & areas astride 5 kilometers of Rajpur Road.Migration coupled with delimitation has become a hydra headed monster.The political leaders & parties did nothing to resist delimitation as Jharkhand & other states of North East did.In the bargain, we are ,not only losing out on our youth & people who continue to migrate at an astonishing rate but our political representation is on the wane.The recently concluded census is a witness to the stark reality that the population of hill districts has decreased.At this rate, in the next census, one would see a disturbing demographic change.Who are responsible & accountable for it ? The same political parties are asking for votes today.The quality of life in the hill sector is appalling with hardly any visible signs of sustainable development.What Uttarakhand needs are honest & committed leaders who possess a far sight like Parmar -the first Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh.If the political leaders & parties remain self centred, nothing is expected.It is amusing to hear of redefining industrial,tourism,educational,health,etc,etc,policies now for the state -after 11 years! I wonder if people will get fooled by all these declarations,announcements & laying of granite/boards.Honesty of Purpose & dismal leadership are responsible for the present apathy & continuing migration from the state.Only 44 people including children are left in my village that boasted of about 90 prosperous families when I was young.Even Ghughutis have deserted in search of greener pastures as there is no wood,grass or water left.In my opinion,the answer is that all of us must rise leaving behind our caste & creed,region & selfish interests & join hands to make Uttarakhand a good place to live in.This shall remove the regional & caste related trust deficit & convey a strong message to the political leaders , parties & babus that the people of Dev Bhumi & Veer Bhumi are strong & capable enough to chalk out their destiny !

    • Harsh says:

      so whats your plan and how you gonna do what you said?… “Ghughutis have deserted in search of greener pastures as there is no wood,grass or water left” …now they or any other community will find another area and will exploit the resources till all resources end. Neither government nor people are understanding the urgency of developing Nature and its resources. Soon a flood will come and all of will be vanished. Do something for preserving natural resources Lt Gen . It will save your community and humanity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *