Dehradun: Notwithstanding the tall claims being made by the Vijay Bahuguna-led Congress government in Uttarakhand of the tremendous relief and rescue operations undertaken by it post June 16-17 Kedarnath tragedy, but it has only got brickbats not only the opposition BJP in the state, but even its own ministers, MLAs, MPs and its Speaker in the vidhan sabha.
And now the lackadaisical approach of the Uttarakhand government and its utter failure in rising to the occasion to meet the needs of the thousands of people who were adversely hit by the devastating floods and marooned and stranded for days without food and water, waiting endlessly to be evacuated has ricked Lok Sabha also.
What stands out in the discussion held on Uttarakhand in Lok Sabha is the fact that even the Congress MPs did not come to its party led government in this small mountain state, when the BJP was demanding that the Vijay Bahuguna be dismissed and the chief minister was being criticized fair and square by leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj.
Coming out strongly against the chief minister she said that the state government and its functionaries, including the bureaucracy were nothing but mute spectators, as thousands of affected people from all over the country were crying and clamouring for relief. The only silver lining was the Army, Air Force and para-military personnel who fought all odds to provide succor to the people.
Raising questions on the ability of the Vijay Bahuguna government and the state administration, the senior BJP leader she alleged that there was complete failure of the Uttarakhand government in handling the rescue and relief operations post June 16-17 in the small mountain state and that it should be dismissed immediately.
What is surprising that while she was attacking the Uttarakhand government and its leader without mincing words, Congress MPs Satpal Maharaj and Pradeep Tamta though it to be better part of prudence in not defending Vijay Bahuguna. Rather than coming to the rescue of the chief minister of their party in their home state, they only praised the services of the Army, Air Force and para-military force personnel in coming to the recue of the flood hit.
The major allegation against the Bahuguna government was that even after knowing of the tragedy that had hit the Kedarnath valley, it wasted precious time in launching the relief and rescue operations, because of which many lives were lost. The other allegation was that rather being with the people during the hour of crisis, the chief minister went on Delhi and stayed there overnight, rather than going all out for rescue and relief operations immediately.
There were also allegations that neither were there any coordination, nor any sensitivity in the rescue and relief operations that were launched after much delay and that the administration had failed completely in its efforts to provide immediate help to the affected people. Worst was that it was even alleged that the state government had failed in even distributing the relief material sent by various state governments and other organizations.
All speakers in the discussion were of the view that registration should be made compulsory for the char dham yatra, something that had not been considered by the Uttarakhand government, despite almost 13 years having passed since this small mountain state came into existence and the yatra is an annual affair, in which the pilgrims face problems year-after-year.
Popular opinion was that taking into consideration the near total devastation of the upper reaches of the state along the yatra route, loan taken by small private bus and taxi operators and others for setting up dhabas, restaurants and guest houses or hotels, should be waived off as tourism to the region had been written ioff and it would be three to four years for it to come on the tracks.