Blame Game On As Uttarakhand Capital Not Included In Smart City List

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Dehra Dun : Even as there is a lot of disappointments among Doonites, as Dehra Dun, the capital of Uttarakhand has been left out even in the third list of smart cities announced by the union minister for urban development, a blame game has started between the leaders of the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP.

Much to the chagrin of the local population who were keen that the city be included in the list of smart cities, so that they may get some relief from the problems of traffic jams and road congestions that have become the order of the day, they feel that they will now have to wait till January 2017, when the process for the fourth list of the smart city project will be initiated.

Chief minister Harisah Rawat was amongst the first to fire a salvo against the BJP saying that who said that there was no truth in the statement of the union minister for urban development that Dehra Dun had been left out due to floods and other natural calamities. “The union minister must tell us where are the floods in Dehra Dun”, he retorted.

Smart Cities A flawed begenning

However, other Congress leaders were of the view that if the city got the benefit from the project in an election year (Uttarakhand goes to polls in early 2017) the BJP top brass was afraid that chief minister Harish Rawat and the Congress would stand to benefit from it. “Senior BJP leaders both of the centre and the state did not want the Congress to take credit for the smart city project”, they claimed.

In fact, Surendra Rawat, media adviser of chief minister Harish Rawat, demanded the resignation of all five BJP parliamentarians from this small hill state, alleging that they had failed to convince their leadership at the centre to include the city in the smart city project.

But this was denied by the state BJP leaders who said that there was not an iota of truth in the allegations being leveled by the Congress and the chief minister. “Harish Rawat should clarify if cities of states like Uttar Pradesh and Punjab which too are going to the polls next year have been selected for the smart city project, why was Dehra Dun left out. There is something more to it”, they pointed out.

Veteran journalist Raj Kanwar who along with some the city’s elite took the initiative against the first proposal of the Dehra Dun planners to create a smart city in the tea gardens of the city and suggested retrofitting of the rest of the city in the project said that someone should be held accountable why Dehra Dun had been left out from the project even in the third list. “Obviously something is wrong somewhere”, he said.

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.

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