Uttarakhand CM should deliver, not look for scapegoats

Dehra Dun : Rather than playing the blame game and holding the BJP responsible for not exploiting the almost 25000 MW hydel power potential of the state, merely to pass on the buck, Uttarakhand chief minister Vijy Bahuguna could delve into official records and find that nothing noteworthy was done in this direction also by the N D Tewari-led Congress government .Uttarakhand CM should deliver

In his recent public meeting at Dwarhat, the chief minister lashed out at the BJP, holding it squarely responsible for the power deficit and problems that Uttarakhand is facing, by claiming that the party had done nothing to exploit the tremendous hydel power potential, while it was in power in the state.

It may be mentioned here that nothing was done either by the Tewari-led Congress government either in this direction. If even the then Congress government had been serious in exploiting the hydel power potential, than it could have taken a leaf out of the adjoining mountain state of Himachal Pradesh and added at least a few hundred MWs of power for the state.

But the fact of the situation remains that no thought was given in this direction, either by the successive Congress or BJP governments in the state and when the matter did come into consideration, environmentalists and save Ganga protagonists became active by demanding a total ban on the river and its tributaries.

While this is the bottleneck that the Uttarakhand is today facing in harnessing its tremendous hydel power potential, which could not only solve the power problem in the state, but make it power surplus and provided much needed funds for its coffers, the present day scenario is that it is reeling under a shortage of 8.37 million units for the month of May.

There has been a lot of talk of getting the centre to give its nod to the hydel power projects on the rivers that have been stalled because of the pressure put by the save Ganga campaigners and environmentalists, but the moot issue is whether the chief minister and his team has made any effort to get them on the talking table and discuss the matter in the interest of Uttarakhand.

Who denies the fact that a lot of issues can be resolved by discussing matters, which concern the aam aadmi in general and the welfare of the state in particular, but no step has been taken in this direction by either the BJP or the Congress, for whom the main concern is to somehow get to power and then forget the issues relating to the lay man.

Can it not be brought to the attention of the anti-power project lobby that the state government had to purchase about millions of units of power at exorbitant prices to meet its requirements for the month of May and that too from its fund-starved coffers. This money could have been well spent on various projects for the welfare of the people, had the power projects come up.

The gap between demand and supply of power for the month of May has been constantly on the rise. It was zero units in the year 2011, went up to 5.77 million units in 2012 and rose to about 8.50 million units this year. With no power projects likely to come up in the immediate future, this gap is set to become bigger in the years to come.

The adjoining state of Himachal Pradesh is today power surplus and by 2020 will have exploited almost half of its 23000 MW hydel power potential, courtesy the efforts that have been put in by the BJP and Congre4ss governments in the interest of the state and its people. Power has become the biggest revenue earner of the state and the share is only go to go up in the years ahead.

Not to make a generalised sweeping statement, but who can deny the fact that development work has been confined to paper while the money has been pocketed by the corrupt against whom no government has taken any action. This has only further strengthened the corrupt who area eating into the system, which has forced intellectuals and even the Speaker of the vidhan sabha, a Congress man, to come out openly against his own government and the prevailing system in Uttarakhand.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt was Editor, Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish had worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, he was a recipient of many awards Jagdish Bhatt, aged 72, breathed his last on 28th August 2021 at his Dehradun residence.

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