Only promises to hold onto power in Uttarakhand

Dehra Dun: The tiny mountain state of Uttarakhand came into existence just over a decade back. The movement for separating the hills from the plains of Uttar Pradesh and making it a separate state is still fresh in the minds of the people.

It is not only the long serpentine queues of men and women who took to the streets, but the police firings at Rampur Triha, Mussoorie and other places where a number of demonstrators, including women were killed, which forced the centre to cede to the demand of statehood for Uttarakhand.

But the near 11 years that have lapsed since then, have been one where the ambitions and expectations of the people have been trampled upon by the politician-bureaucrat-mafia nexus, who joined hands to rule the roost and make a killing, caring a fig for the local people who braved howling winds, pouring rains and hours without food and water, in the hope that the tomorrow will offer them and their children better opportunities, if not better conditions.

Hopes have been dashed as no government, may it be of the BJP or of the Congress, has even tried to improve the lot of the common man.

But the nifty politicians have, as is their wont, made lofty promises and announcements, only to hoodwink the people and ensure their survival.

The basic facts available are testimony to this sordid tale.

In the less than 11 years the four chief ministers who ruled the state announced as many as 4114 promises to the people, which were duly registered in the chief minister’s office, so that work could be undertaken on them.

Of these only 1638 have seen the light of the day, though not all have been completed and in many, work is going on in bits and pieces.

Of these the maximum announcements, 1084, were made pertained to the public works department, which was but natural. In any hill state road connectivity is one of the major demands of the people specially in the far flung interiors where the villagers have to trudge as many as 25 to 30 kms to the nearest road head.

But not even one-third of these announcements have been completed and no one is apparently concerned.

The next in line is the education department, where 845 announcements were made. Obviously the people want schools of various levels nearer home so that the children do not have to trudge miles with a bag load of books.

Affordable education near homes has always been a dream of the villagers, but even here not even half the announcements have so far become a reality.

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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