Will there be zero tolerance to corruption in Uttarakhand ?

Dehradun : In a recent interview to an English regional daily, Karnataka chief minister, Siddaramaiah said that there will be zero toleration for corruption and we will take stern action against the offenders. Before we take tough measures, we ourselves must be honest, the chief minister and the ministers should be honest, and then ensure that the bureaucrats are honest, and then it will percolate down.

It is not something new. One will recall that this was oft repeated by former prime minister Ch Charan Singh who did not mince words and said that corruption percolates from the top to bottom and if it stopped there, it will stop all the way down. corruption_who_cares_cover2

Now that a Congress chief minister had said so, perhaps the leadership of Uttarakhand, where the party is also in power, will take note.

Ironically, zero tolerance to corruption, transparency in governancy and ensuring that the hopes and aspirations of the people remain rampant were promises made by the Congress party in the last vidhan sabha elections in this small mountain state.

This was also reiterated by its numerous state and central leaders who criss-crossed the state during the electioneering.

But has it happened. The first violation to the rule came when the party imposed Vijay Bahuguna as the chief minister, despite union minister Harish Rawat having the support of the majority of the elected Congress MLAs.

Then Bahuguna made his son Saket Bahuguna the party candidate for the by-election to the Tehri parliamentary constituency despite more experienced and able candidates.

And as far as ensuring that the bureaucrats are honest, is a far call that neither the chief minister not his cabinet colleagues can either vouch for or make efforts to do.

The obvious reason is that corruption in this state has become so rampant and is so evident from the highest echelons to the lowest rung of babudom, that the people have lost all hope of transparency in governance.

And this is not being said by the media alone, where a number of stories on the rampant corruption are published day in and day out, or the opposition, but the Congress leaders themselves.

Vidhan Sabha speaker, Govind Singh Kujwal has locked horns with the government and said that corruption is not only corroding, but eating into the very sinews of this state, which is still in its infancy.

And as far as development is concerned, something that the people of the state were keenly looking forward to in the hope that will ipen new opportunities and dimensions for their children, a number of party legislators are up in arms against the chief minister on the plea that no development work worth the name was being done in their assembly segments.

The fact of the situation is that no chief minister of Uttarakhand had either the vision to take the state top the heights that the people wanted it to achieve or was in know of the grass root prolems which needed top be tackled first head on, so that the small mountain state could be put on the path of progress and development.

It is a tragedy, but both the BJP and the Congress high command have imposed chief ministers on the state, without knowing whether they are in touch with the grass root realities and problems and have the wherewithal to remove them.

One cannot deny the fact that the neighbouring hill state, Himachal Pradesh, would not have become a model hill state for development, had it not been for the leadership of its first chief minister Dr Yashwant Parmar.

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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1 Comment

  1. says: LT Gen Dr Mohan Bhandari

    The first step towards solving a problem is to begin & ,unfortunately,this beginning was never even attempted in Uttarakhand. Dismal leadership over the last 12 years plus has led to the present state of affairs.I recall having seen Dr Yaswant Parmar from close quarters.Here was a leader who led from front giving personal example of impeccable honesty,integrity & group dynamics.He hardly stayed at Shimla & kept on meeting, listening & solving peoples’ problems.There were no helicopters in those days.Even the roads were limited.It did not deter this great leader.He either used a horse/pony or walked for miles in the interior. Along with him,he took a battery of Babus & other officials.He sorted out the problems on spot.This led to a sharp decline in litigation.Soon,his stories of honesty & dedication reached nooks & corners of HP.Since he was a visionary,plains speaking & scrupulously honest,none of his ministers & the official machinery dared to follow the path of corruption.Thus the birth of HP took place on a rock solid foundation.Even at the time of his death,there was no addition or increase in his personal assets.He,thus became a role model not only for HP but for the entire country.His stories became folk songs in in all nooks & corners of Himachal. His love & commitment for the state was exemplary. As a selfless & God-fearing person, he always led from the front; a perfect example of a mix of a Leader,Manager & Politician who saw ahead & worked in perspective for Himachal.
    Zero tolerance comes only when the Leader sets a personal example.Fish rots from the head & even a fish would not get into trouble if it would keep it’s mouth shut !
    Because of the poor track record of governance ever since the Hill State came into existence & since the expectations were high & these were NOT even partially met,the people of Uttarakhand are highly disappointed.The moot question is- ” WHERE DO THEY GO FROM HERE ?”

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