By Brig DK Badola (Retd)
In the words of Gen Douglas MacArthur, “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.” I too was fading away in my retirement life when a thought struck me, to contribute in whatever small way I can for the betterment of the general public of Dehradun, in particular, and Uttarakhand, in general. I would like to draw the attention of the ruling dispensation and administration to the problems faced by the general public for amelioration, where possible. For the administration hardly has any time or inclination to do it themselves.
India attained independence in 1947 after merging over 500 princely states. India decided to do away with the kingdoms and royalty and chose to be a Democratic Republic. In 1971, we abolished the privy purses but created a new kind of royalty – “Politicians” – the new MAHARAJAS of the Indian Democracy. So, now, we have rulers who need no educational qualifications, may have a number of criminal cases against them (the more the better) and need no experience in governance and yet they are the masters of our future. We all know the very few number of days the Uttarakhand Assembly has had sittings every year since 2001. What good could these have done during these meetings for the general public is anybody’s guess. But harm they certainly do, as all four roads leading to the State Assembly are barricaded, thus causing traffic jams and major inconvenience to the general public and those living close to the Vidhan Sabha. More than 50 percent of the police strength is stationed around the Vidhan Sabha during these days, as if crime has suddenly vanished from Dehradun and the city doesn’t require the police force.
When the BJP government came to power in 2017, it had promised the following:-
a) No vehicles with red lights.
b) No blaring of sirens.
c) No VIP culture.
What do we have in 2021 is our NETAS moving around in cavalcades and red beacon cars and SUVs with police escort vehicles blaring sirens and police personnel rudely moving away the general public and their vehicles off the road with a stick in hand.
Gairsain, the supposedly future capital of Uttarakhand is likely to consume Rs 25,000 crores of the limited cash which the state has, for development. Already over Rs 1000 crores have been spent in construction of some of the infrastructure. All this expenditure for what good? Does it help the state in any manner? In all probability Gairsain will remain the most underutilised state capital with both the NETAS and Bureaucracy having no intention of moving there on permanent basis. In other words, Uttarakhand will be like the erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir, with summer capital at Srinagar and a winter capital in Jammu with millions spent on movement to and fro. So, congratulations, we in Uttarakhand will be having our own Muhammad Bin Tughlaq of Independent India. Can someone drill some sense in our Leaders heads? Moot point, I feel.