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Positive ‘Raibar’

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The Government of Uttarakhand is holding week long celebrations in the run up to State Formation Day (9 November). The purpose, obviously, is to involve the people in as many positive programmes as possible so that the sense of ownership and responsibility is enhanced. Part of this was the ‘Raibar: Aawa Aapnu Ghar’, a conclave of Uttarakhand’s best and brightest settled and prospering in other parts of the country, held by the lake in Tehri on Sunday. And, indeed, even a small sense of responsibility among the Uttarakhandi Diaspora, particularly the hill folk, towards their villages and towns could lead to positive interventions in many ways. These would boost not just the economy, but also the quality of life, and employability among the youth. It is inevitable that much of the event would be a reiteration of platitudes and good intentions, but the very fact of coming together should lead to a critical mass capable of future operationalisation. It is good that the BJP is attempting to emulate Prime Minister Modi’s penchant for showmanship in promoting development and other agendas, but it is equally important to learn how to do so. It is not just enough to organise events – utilising precious funds – knowing the purpose is even more important. There have to be recognisable goals and periodic assessment of what has been achieved. In that sense, the people would like an articulation by the Chief Minister in the coming days of what has been actually achieved in the past couple of years. It is the tendency among the media and the politicians to act as though announcement of a scheme or project is an achievement. But years pass and the projects remain in limbo. There needs to be accountability, as well as corrective action. Take, for instance, widening of the Haridwar Bypass in Dehradun, which has been hanging fire for ages. Often, projects are completed so late that their capacities are already insufficient to realise their objective! Generating a positive mood among the people without substantial action on the ground will definitely boomerang on the government. As such, the events planned for the week approaching 9 November should be filled with positivity, of course, but also genuine introspection. People’s involvement is not enough if the action required from all layers of government proves inadequate. While the PM claims to have changed bureaucratic functioning in the country, the impact should be visible on the ground in the farthest reaches of Uttarakhand.

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