Uttarakhand – 12 years to nowhere

Dehradun : Twelve years may be a very small period in the life of a state, but apparently enough to bring some breathing space to its people who feel suffocated in the existing conditions.

The situation becomes all the more grim taking into consideration the fact, that it was these very people who took to the streets for the creation of Uttarakhand in the hope of a better tomorrow.

But tragically they today realize that their tomorrow is worse than was their today.

Take the case of the state capital Dehradun, where hundreds of crores of rupees have been invested to improve the living conditions of the people.

But it is quite apparent that the money has gone either down the gutter or into the coffers of the corrupt administrative and bureaucratic machinery than into the infrastructure.

Even the crossings that had to be widened to ensure free flow of traffic have yet to be completed resulting in traffic snarls. One department conveniently blames the other for non-completion of the job.

And then there is the glaring example of widening of a stretch of Chakrata Road from the Clock Tower till the Prabhat cinema so that the bottleneck that was a commuter’s nightmare could be removed.

A dream project of the previous BJP government, shops on both sides of the road were demolished to make way for the widening and it appeared that the project would eventually see the light of day.

But then a snarl came up. One of the buildings on the road, a Plaza, was not demolished in line with the others. As a result the drain that had to be built along the side of the road had to be stopped mid way.

All efforts by the authorities to make the owner of the Plaza concede to breaking the portion of his building so that the drain can be completed has fallen on deaf ears. Reports are that a senior man in khakhi is using his clout to save the Plaza.

For the residents of this state which is still in its infancy, such bureaucratic and administrative interferences are common.

In fact the bureaucracy and the administrative set up in the state is so strong that even the politicians find it hard to get the better of them.

Rather the politicians are also at the receiving end because most of them neither have the experience to govern nor the ability to take on the bureaucratic and administrative machinery.

As a result the state is stagnant as there is neither any political vision or bureaucratic will to improve the lot of the residents, who suffered bullets and lathis for the creation of the state.

Even the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal, which spearheaded the agitation for the creation of the state, has been decimated as most of its founder leaders have been sidelined by a new set of leaders who have other ambitions than to make Uttarakhand live up to the expectations of the masses.

What else can be said of a state which in 12 years of its existence is already under a debt burden of over Rs 2400 crores while its people continue to look forward for even basic amenities as potable water, electricity, schools, health facilities and road connectivity.

If the existing condition of Dehradun, the state capital is any indication, one can but imagine the condition in the far flung interiors of the state and only hope for the best for its masses.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor (Uttarakhand) at Himachal Media. 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.

2 Comments

  • Reply July 3, 2012

    Sonja De

    Most of the State’s funds are being lavished on super fat salaries to the non-performing human assets – the government employees, doctors and teachers. The State has become a mega employment factory that produces nothing but corruption and misery for the people. It is such a tragedy that this great land and its wonderful people full of potential are being ruled by petty, shameless and incompetent men without a vision beyond their own pockets.

  • Reply July 20, 2012

    Krishna

    I have been living in Uttarakhand for some months now (from Himachal) and am truly shocked at the sorry state. In Dehradun dist. I have lived in 2 places and in both places there is no garbage collection process – something taken for granted in most other places of the country. “Someone” is supposed to come to collect the garbage atleast once a week, but “she has stopped coming because people refused to pay the fees she collects”….
    So what happens is, all the garbage is dumped in empty sites and streams or roadsides, and once in a while someone around the locality burns the whole lot – plastic and god-only-knows-what-else included. The heavy pollution – we can only imagine how it affects all living beings around.
    And that’s just the tip of the ice-berg – the tourist routes (tourism is UK’s main money-earner) are so badly managed, many people like myself and my husband don’t DARE consider public transport if we want to go to any of the hill resorts or temples.
    The local transport only works because of shared autos called ‘vikram’ (the brand of vehicle commonly used) – on the downside the vehicle itself is notoriously uncomfortable (the shock absorbers have been non-functional in 9/10 autos I’ve been in); dangerous for pregnant women and those with back/spinal problems. And yet it is the only really viable form of local transport around Dehradun/Rishikesh/Haridwar.
    We truly love the Himalayas and came to Uttarakhand with rosy eyes and the dream of enjoying the amazingly beautiful land – but every single day we feel pushed to get out.

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