New Delhi: The Government today rejected the proposal for formation of a separate ministry for the hill states, but assured that it remains committed to the development of the Himalayan states in view of the hardships faced by the people and unique geopolitical situation of the mountain range.
In an anti-climatic end to the two-week long discussions in the Parliament initiated through a resolution moved by Uttarakhand’s Hardwar MP Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank”, the Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office(PMO) Jitendra Singh said the government has no proposal to set up the said ministry, at the moment.
Pokhriyal looked surprised and got up to made a last ditch appeal to the government to re-think “for the sake of security” of the nation, as all these states shares boundary, stretching from Leh-Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh, with not-so-friendly nations such as China.
However, since the announcement came at the fag-end of the last working day of the week, earlier today, Pokhriyal could not respond to the government’s stand, and withdrew his resolution on the direction of the Speaker.
Cutting across the political and party lines, MPs from different states across Himalayas, made vivid presentations of their respective regions and concurred that in view of the uniqueness of their existential issues, a separate ministry was called for.
Soon after assuming power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke of a “common model” for Himalayan states and there was widespread speculation that a ministry to that effect was in the offing. More so, because Pokhriyal, who moved the resolution in the Lok Sabha, was himself a MP of BJP, the party in power.
“There is need to have a separate policy and planning for development of the Himalayan states in India. All the states located in Himalayan belt have same set of problems and also diverse opportunities in similar nature,” Modi had said on July 4 while flagging off the train linking Katra -the base camp for pilgrims heading Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in the Trikuta hills in Jammu & Kashmir.