By S Paul
I came across three very interesting write-ups in GP dated 11 December 2018. The first one is titled ’Going Organic….’ on page 7. It mentioned that the state of Uttarakhand has been declared an ‘Organic State’. I wonder what this infers. According to our scientific knowledge, the entire Earth is organic in order to sustain life. Otherwise, it would be the Moon. However, the gist specifies that this part of our nation has very large potential for becoming agriculturally rich, even attracting tourism for that reason. The terrain in the state, specially the Terai region, lends itself to very diverse cultivation and the hills to many exotic ones. Not only the cash crops but many kinds of spices which are even grown in the Nilgiris and Vindhiya hill system; like cloves, black peeper, chironji (Buchanania lanzan), cardamom, etc. The hills can be made into farms for all kinds of fruits and nuts, many kinds of flowers and spices like cinnamon, bay leaf, all spice (Pimenta) and many kinds of medicinal plants. Therefore the power in governance must invest in this only and NOT in industrialisation and imposing the ‘inorganic’ human indulgence in concrete, steel and glass by the builders. Our ecology must remain and become organically oriented to bring the citizens of this state clean healthy prosperity. For earning dirty prosperity, our Uttarakhandis can go and toil elsewhere in the country and the world.
That is what our famous writer couple, the Gantzres, are urging in their article on page 2, ‘Who will baulk the builders’. Earlier also, they lamented the loss of revenue to the Mussoorie administration due to taking over their famous and well run Micro Hydel Power generation system. In fact, I have earlier in one of my write-ups called the MDDA (Mussoorie Dehradun Development Authority) as the ‘Mussoorie –Dehradun Destruction Authority’. Such a concept of ‘development authorities’ all over the nation has been another ploy by the elected governments to generate revenue for governance or for themselves. I should say it was a misconceived idea which gave no thought to the environmental development and adversely gave rise to the new business called builders’ corporation; causing a lot of destruction of ecology, pollution and corruption that came with it. In earlier times, the control over the inorganic imposition of cement, steel and glass was vested in local administrations called Municipalities of towns and cities and that of Panchayats for large villages. The revenue earned by them in controlling construction, running commercial complexes, having complete charge of electric power distribution-water supply and sewage disposal, was utilised not for any other purpose but for the improvement of cities systems and administration. These methods of revenue generation have since been usurped by the local governments and they use a major portion of this for other uses than only for the residents’ welfare and comfort. Now we see that our municipalities have been made subservient to a political system where the welfare of politicians and their parties who are the prime beneficiaries of whatever the human habitats generate for them by way of revenue and avenues for marketing (enhancement) of their political ambitions. Any development or enhancement of facilities for trade is to attract investment by way of money and manpower from rural areas and even outside the state. Uncontrolled, this incursion has become an environmental, degradation of natural resources and law & order problems; as now being faced by Dehradun, Mussoorie and many other cities in this state. Abolition of development authorities and other subsidiary agencies like Jal Nigam, UPCL, etc., and all these activities being made integral to Municipalities may be considered as a centralised control and coordinated development of our urban regions.
With the excuse of lack of residential space and provision of a home for all, our narrow visioned political leadership is permitting mushrooming of many a ‘Tower of Babel’. The Tower of Babel was said to be the first attempt of human beings to attain a comfort zone for themselves by building a sky high communal residence so that they did not have to roam about to forage for themselves all over the world. The creator did not feel it proper, desiring that human beings explore and spread out through the entire World to seek and receive blessings in many forms. Therefore, people were made to start speaking in different languages and behave as strangers to each other. So, they forgot about constructing the tower and went and formed many nations. Therefore, our politicians are becoming anti-God by encouraging builders’ mafia and by concentrating most facilities in the urban area neglecting the rural ones. That is the soldierly concern and dictate of a veteran in his article on page 9 of the GP, ‘Government should immediately stop exodus etc…..’ by Brig Behl. It is apt and a warning to the leadership not to worry about difficulties in reaching rural electorates and quit attracting them to concentrate in urban localities. Instead, consider the long term gains by making rural areas more self sufficient. Provisioning of facilities for proper education, health management, accessibility of provisions, electric power and revenue generation by local means including solar energy, low head hydro power generators like Pelton wheel and Kaplan turbine (installed just as the local floor mill ‘Gharat’), etc., in rural area; simultaneously facilitating agricultural and rural tourism would fetch our leaders a lot of grateful votes and support. However, if the leadership is obsessed and feels that more urbanisation is the only way to progress then consider making satellite cities for Dehradun and Mussoorie near Haridwar, Bihari Garh and Chhutmalpur.
Therefore we, the thinking citizens of DEV BHOOMI, urge our leaders to adopt and encourage the slogan of ‘Jai Kisan- Jai Jawan’ rather than ‘Jai Dhanvan’.