Dehra Dun : For Uttarakhand chief minister B C Khanduri, all importance lies in repeating the BJP government in the state somehow, even if it means implementing half-baked decisions, so long as it is a populist move, which will influence the voters.
The latest in this line of populist decisions is the government order on Wednesday of the four new districts â€“ Yamunotri, Ranikhet, Didihaat and Kotdwara â€“ though nothing has been done on the ground level for them to become a reality.
Realising that it will be practically impossible to carve out the new districts, a rider has been put in the notification.
Decision on the boundaries of the new districts and their administrative facilities, including the appointments of district magistrates and SPs, will be done after the elections, the notification adds.
It is quite obvious that the cash starved coffers of the Uttarakhand government can hardly afford the financial implications of the four new districts and as such despite the announcement having been done by the previous chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal on Aug 15, the decision was not implemented till now.
In fact, ever since Pokhriyal was replaced by Khanduri as the chief minister of Uttarakhand, there were indications that better sense would prevail and the new districts may not be carved out for practical reasons.
But obviously taking into consideration the view that the populist move could benefit the BJP in the vidhan sabha elections due in February next year, a go ahead has been given.
The adjoining hill state of Himachal which has almost the same geographical area has 12 districts, while Uttarakhand has 13 in Dehra Dun, Pauri, Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag, Chamoli, Tehri, Hardwar, Almora, Champawat, Udhamsingh Nagar, Nainital, Bageshwar and Pithoragrh. To these will be added Yamunotri, Kotdwara, Ranikhet and Didihaat.
Didihaat has been carved out from Pithoragrh district; Ranikhet from Almora district, Kotdwara from Pauri district and Yamunotri from Uttarkashi district.
Already a furor has started within the major townships in the newly carved out districts for setting up the state headquarters. There was a public agitation in Purola to make it the district headquarters of Yamunotri.
Though a senior official on conditions of anonymity said that apparently the fact that a government order and not a notification was issued in the matter means that there is something dicey in the matter.
â€œA government order can be rectified and if necessary other changes be made which is not so in the case of a notificationâ€, he claimed.
However, Khanduri wants to have the cake and eat it too and as such to ensure that the residents of the newly announced districts do not pick up cudgels against him and his government, he has taken the easy way out to get their support by having orders issued for the new districts.