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The Dixit Commission Report: Is it really relevant?

Dr Nitin Pandey

26-July-2009

When elected representatives in India wish to avoid taking a decision, they refer the matter to a committee or a commission. Be it the Parliament or the State Legislatures; Parliamentary Committees, Joint Parliamentary Committees and the like are convenient ways of pushing issues under a carpet. Dixit Commission is an excellent example of such procrastination.

Dehra Dun was declared the interim capital of Uttarakhand by the Central Government when the State was formed in Nov 2000, with the final choice being left to the State. Since then, caught between two opposing parties (which we will talk about later) no politician has been “tall” enough to take the question head on and Nityanand Swamy set up the Dixit Commission in Jan 2001. 7yrs and 10 extensions later the Commission submitted it’s report to the Government in August last year.

Consider this:
  1. An uninhabited and ruined Athens was made capital of newly independent Greece on popular sentiment of restoring Greece to its original glory.
  2. Upon reunification the underdeveloped city of Berlin was made Germany’s capital instead of the existing, well developed West German capital Bonn
  3. After the October Revolution the Russian Capital was shifted from the developed St Petersburg to the ruined city of Moscow.
  4. The Capital of Pakistan at the time of Independence was Karachi. After seizing power in 1958, Gen Ayub Khan wanted the capital to be next to his village Rehana, so he founded a new city, Islamabad. Today Islamabad is one of the most well developed capitals in the world.
The Commission worked hard and methodically and arrived at its recommendation through a series of scientific steps. It did what it was set up to do, give a logical, scientific recommendation. Therefore finding faults with the Commission and burning its effigy is not really correct. It is the politicians who setup the commission, who are at fault. Choosing a Capital is a political decision, and by avoiding taking a call on it, politicians are trying to appease both sides of the debate.

Uttarakhand was formed because of popular sentiments. India achieved its freedom because of it’s people wanted freedom. If commissions were set up to decide on either of these, India may not have been independent or Uttarakhand may never have been formed.

It is undeniable, that barring a small minority, an overwhelming majority of residents of Uttarakhand do not want Dehra Dun be Uttarakhand’s Capital. Even most of Doonites wish the Capital would move elsewhere. The only sections of society which insists that Dehra Dun be the permanent capital are the real estate dealers, bureaucrats and the leaders of the two National Parties in Uttarakhand. The fight over the issue of Capital is therefore not between Garhwali’s and Kumaoni’s or between the people staying in hills or plains, as vested interests tend to portray, it is rather between the entire local population and the high and mighty.

An overwhelming majority of the local population wish the capital would shift to a more central location. An easy way to prove the point would be by holding a referendum on the issue in the State. Names of probable places can be given and voters asked to choose one. Results of this would end the debate on what people want and it should be binding on the Government.

Labelling any place as unsuitable for being Uttarakhand’s Capital simply because of its proximity to the International border is ridiculous. If local people can stay there, why can’t politicians and the babus? If the latter feel insecure by staying in Garsain, it is high time they are forced to stay there and increase the security of local population. If a place is unfit for staying of the Chief Minister and his ministers because it has poor communications, poor roads and is prone to land slides, then it is all the more important that all of them stay and work there, if the lives of local people are to improve. Until our leaders and bureaucrats live among the most deprived people of our State, the objectives of the founding of our State can never be met. If the mere visit of the President of India was enough to spruce up Dehra Dun, imagine the condition of our City if Rashtrapati Bhawan was permanently located here. The same logic applies to the need of our leaders to shift to the deprived locations of our State.

Unfortunately people of Uttarakhand do not have any party which has their welfare in its heart. The main stream political parties are bound by national constraints in their behaviour. The only local party, UKD, has been on a suicidal course since it’s haydays during the Uttarakhand Agitation. This explains why third parties, like Rajni Rawat, find instant mass support.

The issue of State Capital in intricately linked to the aspirations of our people and development of our State. Until the matter is settled according to the wishes of it’s people, the issue will remain alive. It cannot be wished away, brushed under a carpet or dissected in a scientific lab. The longer politicians take in settling it, the more harm it will do to the State.



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Date30-Dec-15
From: Plsaieng to find someone who can think like that
Plsaieng to find someone who can think like that


Date14-Oct-15
From: I have not checked in here for a while beacsue I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are good quality so I guess I will add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend
I have not checked in here for a while beacsue I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are good quality so I guess I will add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend


Date16-Mar-12
From: Prakhar Todaria
Totally agree with all the statements mentioned in the article. The development of hills can not be done until the politicians and bureaucrats start judging the requirements and necessities of hills people and it is only possible when they start living in the hills. Everything takes up a shape from raw when efforts are put in it so gairsain should be declared the permanent capital of the state without any doubt in the mind.


Date16-Mar-12
From: Prakhar Todaria
Totally agree with all the statements mentioned in the article. The development of hills can not be done until the politicians and bureaucrats start judging the requirements and necessities of hills people and it is only possible when they start living in the hills. Everything takes up a shape from raw when efforts are put in it so gairsain should be declared the permanent capital of the state without any doubt in the mind.


Date08-Sep-10
From: Hem Pant
Proper development of Uttarakhand will take place only when policy makers will be ready to understand that hills can also be developed... So, Gairsain issue is connected to the "Decentralisation of Development"... Na Bhabar na Sain, Rajdhani sirf Gairsain


Date22-Aug-09
From: krishna
thee issue for capital should not be based on the feasibility of capital township. state like uttarakhand needs change of mindest of ruling classes ( politicians and beaurocrats) and for that it is imperative that they are forced to feel the reality of living in hills. unless a capital is made in a less developed part of the state, given the mindset of ruling classes, no real development will ever take place. as of now having capital in dehradun is no different from capital in Lucknow!!




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