Rural Masses of Uttrakhand Keen For Change In Sysyem

Dehra Dun : Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organisation (HESCO) founder-president Dr Anil Prakash Joshi who returned after visiting about 800 villages during his ‘gaon bachao yatra’ said that the people were not only keen to change the people in power but also the system because of which they had been neglected over the years.

The general feeling that was all pervasive in the villages that the yatra passed through was the powerful feeling that even after 15 years of the region getting statehood, for which the masses had braved not only the vagaries of weather but faced the lathis and bullets of the police and PAC of the then Uttar Pradesh government, they were still deprived of the basic facilities and infrastructure.

He claimed:

The people of Uttarakhand are feeling cheated by the two major political parties that have ruled the state for the 15 years that the state was formed. The growing frustration of the masses on the manner in which they have been treated by the governments that ruled the state, the complete neglect of the rural areas of the state was very visible amongst the people all through the yatra.

Asserting that the credibility of the political leadership of the state and its bureaucracy was at an all time low, Joshi said that there is complete hatred of the political parties and the babudom of the state and a combination of resentment, anger, disappointment and frustration was amongst the rural masses in almost all the villages that the yatra passed through.

He said that because of rampant unemployment, especially in the Garhwal region of this small hill state, besides the lack of basic facilities and infrastructure migration has become a serious problem and the simmering anger and discontent of the masses could erupt any day, for which none other than the political parties and the bureaucracy will be responsible.

Meanwhile supporters of the yatra said, that it had brought a ray of hope to the rural masses that there is at least someone who is raising their issue when all seemed to be lost. They added

We now realize that the political parties and the prevailing system of corruption and nepotism will not deliver anything and we will perhaps have to take remedial measures and create a new beginning.

They said that those is power should not forget the strength in the unity of the masses. It was this unity that got statehood for the region despite all the efforts of the then Uttar Pradesh government against it, and if the masses so decide they can become the tool for change and a new system in the state, they pointed out.

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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