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The Progressive Uttarakhand 


By S Paul

A very optimistic message by the CM of our state was published in GP dated 1 January, 2023. We, the residents of this state, wish that all that has been envisioned by him and his government may happen to make this northern border state of Bharat a model for all. The central government too seems very inclined to boost the level of this part of Bharat as it is not only endowed with natural assets but is also a spiritual abode for the Gods of our Sanathan Dharma. The people of this state also are a representative of the Diaspora of race and culture of Bharat. It would however, help us, the people, to appreciate the government’s effort if it is spelled out more specifically. But we who love our state would caution our government not to get into the trap of describing industrialisation as ‘progressive’. Industrialisation would ruin the natural ambience of this part of our world. We ought to build up our economy only on various types of tourism, growing of fruits-flowers and exotic herbs-spices, assembling units for watches/phones/computers (without polluting the terrain with wastes and effluents). Even in the foothill districts, we ought to take this precaution. We must also not let land use be thrown open to property developers. Apartment culture may be economical for land use but the planners like MDDA must educate itself with better futuristic town planning ideas. Such clutters of multi-storeyed buildings as being permitted in, say, Dalanwala in place of sprawling open green bungalows only creates crowd, traffic and garbage. These also become pockets of heat and dust affecting the environment. The roads and lanes should have been widened to accommodate at least two lanes and footpaths on either side. Large green areas by way of parks should have first come up. No such residential building, new and old, should have been permitted to have shops or commercial buildings. A central shopping cum commercial complex should have been carved out all over the city locality wise.

We in Bharat have an unhealthy attitude to have a utility shop next door or in the building we live in. Walking to a central complex to make purchases or do business is healthy. I also wonder how our service-provider agencies are dealing with such increased load. Take for instance fresh water. Are these housing complexes being permitted to have their own water supply based on borewells? If so, it is affecting the aquifer water adversely and would eventually cause our trees and orchards to wither away. How is the garbage disposal and sewage being handled and whether the sewage effluence being treated and not let drain into the various natural streams which all eventually end up in Ganga or Yamuna? The realtors and property developers should be encouraged to help the state develop many more hill resorts and hill stations other than those we have inherited from the former British rulers. Specialist agriculturists and investors could be roped in to make Uttarakhand also an internationally recognised basket of fruits, flowers and herbs.

So much is being heard about traffic control plans. Nothing seems to be effective. I can point out about six faults against traffic regulations being made at the Rispana Bridge on Haridwar Bypass part of a national highway. A national highway is invariably an expressway. Passing through an urban area it needs to be elevated with parallel roads on either side which provides access to residential and commercial establishments. These are not permitted to open on to the highway directly. Is this being done on the NH-7 passing through the city of Dehradun? I fear that this Haridwar Bypass, as it is known, is going to become a traffic nightmare (even in day time) when the new alignment from Delhi (Loni) via Barot to Dehradun is opened to traffic. The entire traffic from and to Delhi for Mussoorie and Haridwar/Rishikesh would pour into this bypass unless a connecting road is started and commissioned say from Asharodi to Doiwala via Dudhli and to then Mussoorie bypass and Haridwar-Rishikesh via Bhaniawala.

In a smart city covered by CCTV for supervising implementation of traffic rules, one does not see rural means of load carriers of tractor towed trolleys, earth moving plants, heavy cranes, container lorries, heavily loaded trucks, dangerously loaded small trucks and even hand carts carrying iron rods and long bamboos projecting dangerously from back and front; all during heavy traffic hours when cars, school busses and two wheelers are jostling for road space, overtaking from the wrong side and changing lanes. Our heavy traffic drivers also go unchecked for driving on the rightmost lane whereas they should deliberately stay in the left most ones.

Can our administration not organise that all the electricity repair work, cleaning of road side drains, repairing of dug up roads and sweeping, clearance of dumped garbage, etc., is done in the night hours, when there is least use of roads and lanes by the people, and all ‘malba’ taken away before day break? Why cannot a central agency coordinate the laying and repairing of pipe lines and underground cables in a pre-laid cemented trench along the roads and covered with thick RCC slabs with manholes for access? If all this is not planned, Uttarakhand and its ex-officio Capital City, Dehradun, would never become modern and progressive. So, what is this talk about making our state the leading part of Bharat, the nation on the move?