Prime Minister Modi, NSA Doval will have to intervene for its growth.
New Delhi: Uttarakhand’s district Pauri which has the distinction of giving seven chief ministers, an NSA and an Army chief, is itself in a bad shape today. Apart from seven chief ministers who led the governments in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, who was the Army chief as well, belong to this important district of Uttarakhand.
BJP’s national media in-charge, Anil Baluni, also hails from Pauri. But unfortunately, the district of Pauri is lacking development. Several villages of this district are in a terrible condition in terms of basic amenities such as power, water and road. In Uttarakhand, Pauri saw the highest number of people migrating to other places. Uttarakhand was ruled by 10 CMs in a span of 20 years, but development is missing. What several of these CMs did was focused allegedly on their own development. People talk much about sons and daughters and other kin of these CMs owning hotels, NGOs and universities in other states. Pauri remained one of the most neglected regions. CMs coming from this district remained confined in Dehradun only. Political ambitions ran so high in the state that most of the CMs could not complete their full term. Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna was one of seven CMs from Pauri, who ruled Uttar Pradesh twice. UP CM Yogi Adityanath also belongs to Pauri. The newly-appointed CM of Uttarakhand, Tirath Singh Rawat also comes from Pauri. Trivendra Singh Rawat, who was removed as CM recently, is also from Pauri. B.C. Khanduri, who became Uttarakhand CM twice, and former CM Ramesh Pokhriyal were also from Pauri district. Both of them could not also complete the full term. Vijay Bahuguna of Congress, who led the government in Uttarakhand for a short period of time, belongs to Pauri.
BJP did a lot of experiments in terms of CMs in Uttarakhand. In the beginning itself, BJP made a mistake when it made a non-pahari Nityanand Swami the first CM of the state. When it realized the mistake, the party replaced him with Bhagat Singh Koshyari just six months before the elections. But Koshyari could not do any miracle and BJP lost the polls, following which Congress came to power.
Congress surprised all by appointing N.D. Tiwari the CM of Uttarakhand. Congress gave Tiwari the charge irrespective of the fact that he had opposed statehood for Uttarakhand. He lasted the full term but remained controversial. He also focused on plains instead of hills.
All the offices opened for the new state were in Dehradun, Haridwar and Haldwani. Hill region of the state was ignored. This led to migration from hills to the plains and Dehradun became the centre for employment seekers. As a result, Dehradun, which was a tourist place, got crowded and polluted.
When BJP came to power again, BC Khanduri was given the charge of the government. Aware of the problems of the hill region, Khanduri started taking some significant decisions but BJP replaced him with Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank who was also from Pauri district. Nishank had an experience of working as a minister in UP in the 90s. He had actually developed a good rapport with top and powerful BJP leaders of that time–Rajnath Singh and Lal Krishna Advani. He got benefit of his rapport and got the post of CM in Uttarakhand. He was also surrounded by some controversies resulting from allegations of corruption. So, before he was removed by the high command, Khanduri was reappointed CM. “Imaandar Khanduri hain zaroori” slogan was given then.
Then came 2012 polls and BJP high command was taken aback by the defeat of the party in Uttarakhand. The blame for defeat of the Khanduri-led party was on the infighting of the BJP. Congress came to power and Vijay Bahuguna became the CM. He also lost the post following the tragedy of 2013. He was succeeded by Harish Rawat. In the meantime, the realignment of BJP central leadership happened and in 2014, Nishank was brought to the central politics. He was elected MP from Haridwar. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the then BJP president Amit Shah became all powerful at the central leadership by that time. The duo did a lot of experiments in 2017 in Uttarakhand. Congress saw massive revolt. Tirath Singh Rawat was also brought to the centre. BJP got a big victory due to the Modi wave. BJP repeated experiments of leadership like Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand, giving CM post to new face Trivendra Singh Rawat. But Rawat messed up it all. So fast change of CMs led to the hill region, particularly Pauri, being neglected as far as development is concerned. The district headquarter is Pauri but no officer remains stationed here. All they prefer to be in Dehradun. Trivendra Singh Rawat changed the name of Kotdwar, which is an important city of Pauri district, to Kanva Nagri. This move sparked a massive row. Newly appointed CM Tirath Singh Rawat will have to restore its old name.
Roads in this area are dilapidated. The road from Satpuli to Srinagar via Kanskhet, Pauri, Bamthi and Kyark is still not concretized even after 20 years. Similarly, the Kandi road connecting Garhwal, Haridwar and Nainital has fallen victim to politics. It is said that traders and politicians of UP are not allowing this road, connecting Garhwal and Kumaon, to be constructed. There is no industry in Pauri as well. The district is facing a water crisis despite the Ganga flowing just near it. Most of the CMs did not heed the demand for basic necessities of Pauri and hill people. It is neglected from tourism’s point of view also. No new tourism centre was developed. If at all money is allocated for some employment scheme, the officers pocket the amount in what indicates the corruption rampant there. Now, PM Modi and NSA Doval will have to intervene right away. The development of Uttarakhand, which is close to China border, is possible when there is a drastic plan for hills in consultation with the people living in that particular region.