Dehra Dun : The BJP government in Uttarakhand wants to ensure that it retains power in the state, even at the cost of putting a heavy burden on its cash-starved coffers and pushing the state into debt trap. At least this is the indication one gets at the sops doled out at the last meeting of the cabinet on Saturday.
The process of pleasing the masses in an effort to get their approval and votes in the vidhan sabha elections due in the state in February next year was started by former chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal. He announced the setting up of four new districts raising their number from 13 to 17, despite the fact that the state can ill afford the additional administrative cost of four districts.
In fact, after the announcement of the four districts by Pokhriyal, there have been demands for more districts as the expectations of the people have been on the rise. Though the four new districts that had been announced have yet to become functional, but chief minister B C Khanduri has assured the people that they will become functional shortly, even at the cost of additional financial burden.
However, if the recent decisions taken at the recent cabinet meeting are any indications, financial constraints seem to be the least of the worries of the chief minister. The focus is on retaining power at the state, at all costs. As many as 28,000 temporary, daily and contractual employees in the state were regularized, putting an annual extra burden of crores on the state government.
The pay of guest lecturers at polytechnics has been raised from Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000, computer operators pay have been increased from Rs 6500 to Rs 10,000, ITI trained teacherâ€™s pay has been raised from Rs 5000 to Rs 9300, all fair price shop owners will get a minimum of Rs 3000 per month which will benefit those who have a small number of ration card holders, those who have done BTC by correspondence will get job for one year on a retainer of Rs 7500 and honorarium of PTA teachers has been raised from Rs 5000 to Rs 7000.Besides, decisions were also taken for setting up a womenâ€™s engineering college and two general engineering colleges.
Further, to send the message that his government is serious to contain corruption in Uttarakhand, chief minister B C Khanduri has called a two-day session of the vidhan sabha session beginning today to pass the Lokayukta Bill. However, those who have gone through the draft of the proposed bill claim that it self contradictory and would solve no meaningful purpose and as such was merely to befool the masses.