In April this year, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his Uttarakhand counterpart Trivendra Singh Rawat had met and decided to amicably resolve the long-standing dispute over division of assets and liabilities and had instructed the respective chief secretaries to start the process. UP also transferred the ownership rights of 28 minor canals that get water from the upper Ganga canal in Haridwar and 266 residential buildings to Uttarakhand in April.
Sources close to the Uttarakhand secretariat said that several other pending issues—pertaining to the irrigation department, power department, land, industrial development, transport, finance, housing, food and civil supplies, tourism, forest, agriculture, social welfare and drinking water and sanitation—have been put on the table for discussion. The assets to be distributed between the two states include residential and official premises, canals, guest houses, ponds, land etc., spread across Uttarakhand and still owned by UP even after the bifurcation.
The UP irrigation department still owns the “Kumbh Mela Land” in Haridwar, along with the Bhimgoda barrage. The Kumbh area is around 697.578 hectares that is under the control of Uttar Pradesh. Since this land was secured for Kumbh Mela work before the formation of the new state, it cannot be used for any other work. Significant pieces of land, including the VIP Ghat and Alaknanda Ghat are also under the control of the UP irrigation department and are to be transferred to the Uttarakhand government.
According to sources, under the irrigation department, 1,399 buildings are under UP’s control, out of which the state only needs 420. The rest of the buildings are to be given to the Uttarakhand government. In Uttarakhand, a total of 5,842 hectares of land in Haridwar, Udhamsinghnagar and Champawat are under UP’s control, out of which Uttarakhand is entitled to 2557.78 hectares. According to sources, four out of 10 canals in Haridwar and 25 out of 33 in Udhamsinghnagar should be maintained in Uttarakhand.
A source close to the matter said, “Approximately 25% of the projects of THDC India Limited, a joint venture of the Government of India and Government of Uttar Pradesh, which are in the periphery of Uttarakhand, should be given to Uttarakhand. Kalgarh Jal Power House, which has a capacity of 198 MW, is fully located in the periphery of Uttarakhand. Uttar Pradesh does not have the right to the power produced by it.”
The Uttarakhand Transport Corporation’s liability to the Uttar Pradesh government is Rs 16.28 crore, while UP’s transport department’s liability to Uttarakhand stands at Rs 43.47 crore. Similarly, for the period 2011-12 to 2016-17 of treasury and sub treasuries under the finance department, Rs 2933.13 crore is to be given by Uttar Pradesh to Uttarakhand. The Uttar Pradesh forest and wildlife department has to pay Rs 173.28 crore to the Uttarakhand Forest Development Corporation.
The bifurcation of the two states had taken place during the Atal Behari Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre. The settlement process has been expedited because at present, both UP and Uttarakhand are ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Also, a BJP-led NDA government is at the Centre. Never in the past 17 years has the same political party ruled the government, in both the two states, which is why the disputes continued for so long.