Ownership and jurisdiction issues have remained unresolved between ‘parent’ state Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand even 21 years after the division took place. Attempts have been made several times between governments for a resolution but only with marginal results. This has been the case even when the same party has ruled at the Centre, Uttarakhand and UP. Quite obviously, leaders are bound to put their respective state’s interests above those of the party, particularly as there are valuable assets involved.
It is now being claimed that, after the meeting between Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami and UP CM Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow on Thursday, most of these issues have been resolved. Such claims have been made earlier, including after a meeting of Chief Secretaries before the Covid outbreak, but there is reason to believe there might actually have been a resolution. This is because elections impend and many brownie points will be scored for the BJP, especially in the context of Uttarakhand. It will position CM Pushkar Singh Dhami as a dynamic go-getter.
Actually, all that the division required was application of common sense and a bit of give and take. Unfortunately, there has been greedy reluctance – particularly on the part of UP – to give up what were considered ‘valuable’ properties. Going by the announcements made on Thursday, a reasonable agreement has been arrived at on most issues, with the remaining ones to be resolved within a couple of weeks by a joint team of officials.
Uttarakhandis may feel a bit cheated on the Tehri Dam issue as the state has a limited stake of 12 percent free electricity produced. Considering the dam is entirely in Uttarakhand’s territory, it is natural to feel short-changed. This, perhaps, can be renegotiated in the light of generally accepted global commercial practices in such cases.
There is no doubt, however, that even if the present agreement between the two CMs becomes a reality, Uttarakhand will be an overall beneficiary. It indicates considerable large-heartedness and courage displayed by Yogi Adityanath, especially as he is likely to be targeted by the opposition for this generosity. It is still a moment of celebration for the two states as benefits will accrue in the long run.