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Why can’t we do it?

Dr Nitin Pandey

10-Nov-2013

Thirteen years is a long time; perhaps even long enough for people to forget why they wanted Uttarakhand in the first place itself. Thirteen years is also a long enough time for introspection, to see where we are headed to and was this, what we want our State to be. Time flies and before we realize it Uttarakhand will even be 30 years old and we will still be debating the same old question, what is Uttarakhand all about!

Uttarakhand was formed for the welfare of it’s people and for giving them the benefits of development. Have we achieved that? Other than those living in the big cities of Uttarakhand, life for people living in villages and hills continues to be as bad as ever, if not worse. With no schools, no hospitals, no source of income, no roads, no access to basic sanitation, life has hardly changed for a vast majority of people. When government schools in the outskirts of Dehra Dun are in such a miserable shape, one can only shudder at the condition of schools in remote hills. Why can’t we fulfill the basic needs of our people? Why can’t we give them quality education and health care? Because people who control the levers of power sit in the luxury of air-conditioned offices in Dehra Dun, send their children to expensive private schools and visit big hospitals when in need of a doctor. If such administrators were forced to stay in a remote place, send their children to the local government school and take medicine from the local “Bengali” doctor, will not the system spring into action and change things? Why can’t we do it? Dealing with “files” is one thing, understanding the hardships and desperation of people and then acting with empathy is another. If we want to improve the condition of people in the hills, the administration has to live among them, not away from them. Asking doctors and teachers to go and serve in the interior hills while the bureaucrats themselves sit comfortably in Doon is plain double speak.

One of the biggest blots on Uttarakhand is continuing unabated migration of men from the hills, often for educating their children and earning their livelihood. Instead of coming down, the rate of migration has increased in recent years, this year’s disaster only fueling it further. Why is it that after 67 years of Independence and 13 years of Statehood, a villager is forced to leave his wife, children and parents in search of employment? Migrating to Selaqui from Pithoragarh is as bad as migrating to Delhi as it destroys the family as badly. Why is it that even after 13 years, our State has not been able to create the infrastructure for organic, herbal farming and village level tourism? In the name of developing tourism, only Char Dham route is being developed, which is perhaps benefiting the already moneyed class more than anyone else. Why is it that no government so far in these 13 years has been able to develop a single new tourist destination?

It is sad to see huge energy intensive malls coming up in Dehra Dun at a time when villages of Uttarakhand have power cuts upto 8 hours a day. With limited supply of electricity, why is it that we prefer to light up the rich and famous, leaving the poor and voiceless in the dark? How would we, who live in Dehra Dun feel, if we faced power cuts to supply electricity to a mall in Gurgaon? Why is it that in our quest for “development” we leave the poor behind? Why is it that while the government gives 24 hours uninterrupted electric supply to Dehra Dun it imposes an 8 hour cut in most villages?

Our governments never cease to blame environmentalists for impeding the “development” of our State by opposing the dam(n)ing of the rivers. Why is it that the same government turns a blind eye to development of Solar and Wind power? Why is there no effort to develop electricity at the local level from gharats?

Even as huge amounts of money are being spent on Doon and Haridwar to manage the growing civic pressures, the smaller towns and villages wait in vain for funds and then we wonder why people are migrating to big cities. Unfortunately even the money that is being spent on big cities is being spent on an ad-hoc firefighting basis, rather than in a scientific long term planned manner to ensure spread out well planned growth.

Sadly, what lacks in Uttarakhand’s political leadership is vision. There is absolutely no vision for the future of the State and the State is run on a day to day basis. Long term planning, long term policies and a desire to uplift the voiceless is an alien concept in the State. Scams, disasters & migration are all signs of a failing state. It was a sad day when a laborer from Bihar commented that workers from Bihar are returning home because the situation in Bihar is much better than the situation in Uttarakhand.

Uttarakhand is a rich state, it has talent, man power and natural resources to ensure equal all around development for all its residents. It’s people struggled for decades to get their own state but are yet to see the benefit they should have got by now. And it can be done, if our leaders wanted to, but they don’t.

Why can’t we do it?




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Date04-Sep-16
From: What a plreause to find someone who thinks through the issues
What a plreause to find someone who thinks through the issues


Date14-Oct-15
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