Dehra Dun : Political considerations, rather than those for the uplift of the state and its people weigh heavily on the minds of politicians. The focus is on gimmicks that will bring them vote banks and perhaps a repeat of their government, rather than what will make the state economically viable and put it on the road of prosperity.
This is also what seems to be in the mind of chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, who after announcing a construction of a vidhan bhawan at Gairsain in Chamoli district of the state has also indicated that another vidhan bhawan will also be made at Dehra Dun, which is currently the state headquarters and has a make-shift state legislative assembly.
A small hill state like Uttarkhand, which in just a little 12 years of its formation is reeling under thousands of rupees of crores and can ill afford such wasteful expenditure, will see the state exchequer spend hundreds of crores of rupees on two vidhan sabha buildings – one in Dehra Dun and the other at Gairsain.
It may be recalled that even during the agitation for a separate state, the agitation leaders had named Gairsain as the future capital, if statehood was achieved. The reason for theirs doing so primarily was the fact that it is located midway of the Kumaon and Garhwal divisions of the state and as such is easily accessible to people living in the both the divisions.
Further it does not have very severe winters, as is the case of Shimla, the state capital of Himachal Pradesh and Srinagar, capital of Jammu and Kashmir, the two hill states that have two vidhan sabha for the summers and the winters.
Chief minister Vijay Bahuguna is citing the example of these two hill states for having two vidhan sabhas, despite the fact that neither at Gairsain nor at Dehra Duin the weather is so severe, either in the summer or winters.
What probably he has not taken into consideration is the amount of money that these two states have to spend for the shifting of the vidhan sabha to the winter capital. Small states can hardly afford to spend hundreds of crores of rupees on this annual migration for a winter session of the vidhan sabha for a maximum of about 10 to 15 days of sittings.
Political leaders of various parties cutting across party lines feel that Uttarakhand should have one vidhan sabha, it could either be at Dehra Dun or at Gairsain.
They were of the view that Gairsain would be the best alternative, as it would not only meet the aspirations of the hill regions of this small hill state, but also fulfill the dream of the statehood agitations.
They were also of the opinion that the money that would be spent on shifting to the vidhan sabha every summer from Dehra Dun to Gairsain, could be spent on development of various infrastructure of which there is a crying need in the hills. Road connectivity, potable water, health and educational facilities and laying power lines could be improved with this money, they felt.