Uttarakhand babudom continues with its ‘unique’ ways

Dehra Dun : The Uttarakhand babudom, which is reportedly a major setback in the overall development of this small mountain state and has drawn flak not only from the ‘aam aadmi’, but even chief minister Vijay Bahuguna and vidhan sabha Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal, has shown yet again how personal matters get preference over public interest.

First is the proposal of a new vidhan sabha coming up in Raipur area of the city. There is an existing vidhan sabha, which may not be to the expectations of the politicians, but has been functional ever since the state came into existence in Nov 2000. There is also ample space adjoining the present Secretariat where it can come up, but the babudom in its wisdom has adopted for Raipur, where trees on acres of forest land will have to be felled.

If reports are to be believed, the babudom, in nexus with some politicians of like hue have brought large chunks of land from the villagers at throwaway prices. But now with the proposed vidhan sabha on the cards, the land cost has escalated manifold, much to the chagrin of the villagers who parted with their property for dirt. And when the vidhan sabha does come up, one can but imagine where the prices will sky rocket.

Apparently they are also the ones who are putting a spanner in the making of Gairsain as the capital of the state, a dream and vision that the statehood agitators had envisioned. To make capital of the sentiments of the masses of the state, after his sone had received a drubbing in the Lok Sabha by-election from Pauri, chief minister Vijay Bahuguna announced that a vidhan sabha would be made at Gairsain which would become the summer capital of Uttarakhand.

But funds for the construction of the vidhan sabha at Gairsain have not been released and as of today it only remains an announcement. The apparent reason is that the babudom wants to first ensure that the vidhan sabha at Raipur is constructed so that they can reap the windfall from the land, quite large chunks of which are benami, that they have bought, before the project at Gairsain takes off.

Then there has been the classic example of a government order being issued that the SSP’s residence at Rajpur Road in the city, which has been the residence of the city police chief for over 60 years be vacated by Dec 31 and handed over to the owners. The orders were given despite the fact that the matter for vacating the premises is under judicial consideration and the ownership has also been diputed.

The sprawling property worth hundreds of crores and located at about the most prime place in the city was being handed over without any legal or administrative reasons, except that the land mafia would have made a killing once the SSP residence was officially vacated and handed over to the so-called owners. Even the opposition BJP had questioned the bonafides for vacating the premises.
Realising the flak that the move could draw, specially with Lok Sabha elections drawing near and the functioning of the Congress government in the state leaving much to be desired, chief minister Vijay Bahuguna is said to have intervened and said that the said property would no longer be used as the residence of the SSP, but would be put to commercial use.

But the damage has already been done and the babudom has put the state government in the dock. How else can it be justified that when the state government had to file an affidavit in the matter in the apex court on Jan 6, how were orders to vacate the premises by Dec 31 issued, just on the plea that the matter regarding its vacation is pending in the Supreme Court.

Then when the DAV Trust is also contesting the ownership of the said property, how could orders be issued that it be released in the favour of another owner, when even the ownership of the property is under dispute. Eventually the matter was discussed in the cabinet, where it was decided to put the matter into abeyance for the time and look into how the property can be used commercially.

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

    All this is very revealing.
    Sad that nothing good or ‘of substance’ is heard these days either about the Hill State or about the politicians/Babus.What a great pity !

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