Rahul Singh Shekhawat | Jan 3, 2019 | 9 min read
Dehradun, Uttarakhand: With the dream of making Garsain, the capital of a hilly state of Uttarakhand, a mass movement was on it's full climax in the year of 1994. But when this state was raised at the map of the country, Dehradun was declared temporary capital, as on 9th day of November in 2000. Activists felt cheated as the moment had gone for a hilly state, separate from the father state Uttar Pradesh (UP), centering Gairsain. Nine times Cheif Ministers (CM) has taken oath in 18 year's journey of Uttarakhand so far but Gairsain is waiting to decide it's status and the puzzle of permanent capital is still unresolved as well.
Actually, a hilly state bIfercating UP was demanded but the area of plain and foothills of four out of 13 districts was also included, at the time of the formation of the Uttarakhand. In fact, it was the vote maths which had stopped the first Bjp's Interim government, headed by late Dr. Nityanand Swami, to be declared the state's capital. In stead of taking decision, one member's Justice Virendra Dixit commision was set up to decide the issue of permanent capital, by the Swami's Government (Govt). Later on, Narayan Dutt Tiwari's Congress led first elected Govt preferred to extend the tenure of commission, marching on the same path to keep pending the issue, afterwords again Bjp led Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri Govt too.
Aa a matter of facts, a ministerial committee was set up, under the headship of the then Minister Rama Shankar Kaushik by the Mulayam Singh Yadav's government during early 90's in the era of UP. That Committee had recommend Garsain very suitable for the capital of proposed state of Uttarakhand, in term of physibility, geologically, and distance among the cities etc, in it's reports . In spite of that the Bjp led Interim Government couldn't take decision to declare Capital. On the contrary Justice Dixit commission's report is not in favour of Gairsan and advocates of making Dehradun permanent capital on various ground and observations, while opinion making.
In such a scenario Uttarakhand has become 18 year's old means major, by age on the 9th day of November 2018, but without it's face, as issue of the Capital is still pending. As of now a "Transit Assembly" is being built at Bharalisain-Gairsain, after decision taken by the former Congress government, but without the confirmation of status of the capital. Although a resolution was passed that the government will organised atleast a session of the assembly there at Gairsain Assembly every year. Replying it, the Bjp had assured to declare "Summer Capital" in it's manifesto for Assembly Polls held in 2017, but didn't disclose it's opinion or choice for "permanent capital".
Before it, Dixit commission handed over it's report to the then CM BC Khanduri in August 2008. Later on, it was tabled in the assembly of Uttarakhand too. It is remarkable that in the process of openion making, conducted by the commission, Gairsan was found unfit for the capital, in term of physibiliy, sysmically and water supply facilities etc. Dixit commission rejected the possibility at Kashipur, Ramnagar and IDPL-Rishikesh too, suggested Dehradun suitable for the Capital only, considering various parameters. Which made a suitable base for both the national parties the Bjp and the Congress, either to keep pending this sensitive issue or to execute two capital's concept. Gairsain a summer capital and soon or later Dehradun permanent.
Jai Singh Rawat, a senior Journalist says having extended tenure 11 times and spending approx 2 crore rupees on the commision, it is very surprising that the report has not been discussed in the a Assembly yet. He said that both the Govts led by Bjp and Congress are escaping to touch it under the pressure of Vote's Maths so far, as almost half of the Assembly constituencies are located in the plain area of the state. Since the only regional outfit Uttarakhand Kranti Dal has lost it's relevance and power in State's poltics, because of directionless leadership and Bjp-Congress, both are national lable parties, ignoring regional issues and aspirations intentionally , in their broad perspective of political canvas, he added.
It is considerable that former Congress led Vijay Bahuguna's government had taken a milestone decision, to built a Transit Assembly at Gairsain in the cabinate meeting, held there only in 2013. Later on, replacing Bahuguna, CM Harish Rawat made a remarkable new history by organising the maiden Assembly session at Gairsain in Tents and Tamboo, ever before in India, subsequently in Polytechnic College too. But it's status was kept a big mystery, as it was never cleared, whether it will be the capital or not, during the whole tenure.
As of now the construction work of the main building of Transit Assembly is in final shape in Gairsain and well connected with roads network too. 60 baded Mla's and officer's (each) has been completed and 96 baded staff hostel will be taking final shape shortly by the end of coming March-April, says Jagdish Chand, Secretary, Assembly of Uttarakhand.
Besides it, Gairsain Development Counsil was constituted for the infrastructal development, which includes the two legislators(MlA) of Karnprayag and Dwarhat along with the officers under the headship of the Speaker of Assembly of Uttarakhand. Establishment of police and the Mini Secteriat and is also under consideration.
It is remarkable that all the above decision were taken and works granted by former Harish Rawat's led Congres s Govt. Besides,Trivendra Singh Rawat led Bjp Govt made ₹ one crore provision in it's general budget only, for the formation International Institute of Parliament Study in Gairsain, although decision was taken by the former Congress Govt too.
Harish Rawat, former CM of Uttarakhand and General Secretary AICC now says, as far as the status of Gairsain is concerned I had drawn a line having organised assembly session there in tents. Whosoever party is in the power in state, can neither erase my line nor ignore the relevance of Garsain now. He said Congress government has built there Assembly's building and established infrastructure for capital too. Now having massive mandet, so called "double-engine" Bjp Government should take decision as per public sentiments, Harish Rawat added.
It is significant that Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD), a regional outfit was formed with the dream of a hilly state separate from UP. It was the party, who declared Gairsain, the capital of proposed state even before the movement, was on it's full climax in 1994. Bjp and Congress, rulled so far in uttarakhand, never clear their stand on state's permanent capital.
Time to time Padyatra, Dharna, Gherav and other kind of protests has been staged, by the various regional outfits including UKD, in favour of Gairsain, since the formation of Uttarakhand. In addition to this a "Kramik Anshan" is going on at the Parade ground in Dehradun since last September. "Pancheshwar to Uttarkashi Yatra" was organised by "Sthayi Rajdhani Gairsan Sangharsh Samiti" recently.
Charu Tiwari, convenor of the above-mentioned Yatra says as a capital Gairsan not only represents the concept of a hilly state but also the model of decentralized development, mass movement went for. It is very unfortunate that in the absence of it, the Bjp-Cong led govt's has diminished the martyr's dreams and concept of a hilly state as well. looting resources of the state, he added.
It is worth telling that Dr. Harak Singh Rawat, forest and environment minister said earlier (when he was minister in former congress led govt.) that since lot of infrastructure has been set up in the temporary capital Dehradun, so talking about the Gairsain is not practical, in term of a capital now. In the same way, Dr. Indra Hridyesh said too that idea of capital in Gairsan is not much pacticalical in present scenario, when she was minister in the former congress govt. When such paradox came up within the govt, Harish Rawat said that "na khata na bahi jo harish rawat kahe wahi sahi", being CM to isolate the criticism. In the same way rulling Bjp seems to be clearly in favour of "Summer Capital" in Gairsain, but never disclose it's opinion or choice for "permanent capital".
Ajay Bhatt, the President of Bjp in Uttarakhand, says Congress's government intention of building Transit Assembly at Gairsain was to seek votes by playing immotional card only. It never wanted to resolve the issue of permanent capital of the state. He said that Bjp had given assurance Gairsain to declare Summer Capital in it's election manifesto for Assembly Poll 2017. Trivenda Singh Rawat's government will be completing this promise in it's tenure certaily ,infrastructure is being developed for the said purpose in Gairsain too, Bhatt added.
It is significant that almost half of the constituencies of 70 members Assembly are situated in the non-hilly plains area of Uttarakhand, after the delimitation, held in 2008. Haridwar, major district of the plain area is having 11 seats and Tarai Belt's district Udham singh nagar include 9 Assembly constituencies. Similarly 9 seats out of 10 seats in Dehradun and 4 seats (one seat partially in both districts) out of 6 in Nainital, falls in the plain or foothills area. In fact, this the basic Vote's Maths or hesitation of the Bjp-Congress , stopping them to resolve the sensitive issue of capital.
Elected legislators of the plain's constituencies have been in favour of Dehradun and of hilly areas used to advocate Gairsain as capital. Madan Kaushik, Mla from Haridwar and Urban Development minister put a private bill to declare "Gairsain summer capital" and Dehradun permanent capital, in previous Assembly. Later on the then Congress's Govt fallen down by it's majority. That is to say that no party whether it is the Bjp or the Congress doesn't want to give clear cut signal neither in favour of Dehradun nor Gairsain. But to cater the voters of plains and hill area, keeping pending and unresolved issue of the capital, suits both the national party Bjp-Cong led govt. As a result Dehradun is enjoying the status of a temporary capital, since last 18 years of the raising of Uttarakhand.
Padmashri awarded historian and Renowned activist, Professor Shekhar Pathak says capital is not mere a city, it is basically face and related to the identity of the state. Of course, Gairsain fulfills the aspirations of the hilly state. Unfortunately, under the pressure of bureaucracy considering their facilities or other interests, irresponsible and indecisive behavior of the Bjp and Congress led governments, opted to choose Dehradun a temporary capital and kept the future of Gairsain unresolved, intentionally. Both these national parties has cheated the people by doing so, since the Uttarakhand came in to existance, with the aspirations of decentralized development in the hills. Instead of sorting out the issue now they are planning two capital's concept, which is not only inpractical but also playing with the sprit of movement for separate state in 1994, dozons of activist martyred for.
In such a situation of Bjp-Cong's dual policy of political division between plains and hills, million dollars question is that how long Gairsain will remain stranger in it's dream state of Uttarakhand, keeping unsolved the issue of the capital since last 18 years of carving out.
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