By Ravindra Saini
An analysis of three years of Congress rule in Uttaranchal under Chief Minister N.D. Tewari reveals that the latter is absolutely ineffective as a Chief Minister. He is not concerned at the lack of development in the state. What concerns him most is the post of the Chief Minister. Congressmen and a large number of Congress MLAs have expressed their open resentment against the working of the government. N.D. Tewari is leading a life of isolation and appeasement. His appeasement policy of providing ?red light cars? to a large number of Congressmen proves his ?helplessness? and ?his concern for the post of chief ministership?. He has lost interest in administration for various reasons. He is in Uttaranchal because several senior Congress leaders in Delhi do not want to see him in Delhi. He is silent because he does not want to give up such an important post in his last days. He does not wish to be deprived of the benefits and facilities despite being an experienced and senior leader.
His reign has failed to put Uttaranchal on the path of development. He has failed to extract a reasonable grant from the Centre. People had high expectations from him. Congress leaders too had lured people by making tempting promises during the election. But the continued infighting, which has plagued the Congress, has further worsened the situation. The talk of taming the bureaucracy has become a non-issue and today, the bureaucracy lords over the government majestically. The state is confronted with multifarious problems. After the devastating earthquake, Uttarkashi continues to face continuous massive landslides but the state government does not think it necessary to declare it a state-level calamity at least. Rural electrification measures are totally insufficient. Rural schools are facing shortage of teachers: some are running with a single teacher alone or without teachers at all. Rural health centres are in a state of utter chaos. The Tehri Dam evacuee'ssettlement is still a hot issue. Unemployment is on the rise, but the ministerial posts are being distributed like hot cakes in order to preserve the Chief Minister'spost.
People voted for the Congress on the basis of the party'selection manifesto. The manifesto comprised of six basic elements and 24 points, which were elaborated in 250 paragraphs, but the state government seems to have forgotten its promises. It had promised to provide a small but an influential cabinet of ministers sensitive to the problems of the people, a code of conduct for MLAs and ministers, proper plans for utilisation of MPs? and MLAs? development funds, generation of two lakh employments per year, reorganisation of districts, tehsils and blocks, etc. Matters pertaining to roads, rural electrification, education, drinking water, rural health?all were promised on the basis of top priority. The manifesto made a solemn promise of holding a continuous dialogue with the people and the Opposition, but the reality is contrary to the promises made in the manifesto.
Several ministers have been censored by the Lokayukta office but the reports are not being placed in the Assembly. No groundwork is seen and the work started under the BJP rule has come to a halt now.
Commenting on the three years of (mis)rule of Congress, Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal ?Nishank?, former Finance Minister, alleged that the Congress government was leading the state to a state of financial ruin. He said the government had made Uttaranchal the biggest borrower. ?This government received more than Rs 9,000 crore as a loan. As a result, the state would have to pay Rs 5,000 crore as interest. Thus the state is in a debt of Rs 14,000 crore. The government is paying Rs 1,250 crore as interest per year while the total resources of the state are worth a mere Rs 1,300 to 1,500 crore. The state will have to pay Rs 1,500 crore as interest and installment. How will the state achieve its goal of development? During 2001-2002, when the BJP government was in power, the state'sloss was Rs 99 crore which increased by Rs 1,234 crore in 2004-2005. Similarly, the total loan taken by the state during 2001-2002 was Rs 268 crore, which increased to Rs 1,100 crore in 2002-2003 and Rs 2,200 crore in 2002-2003. The government is unable to explain how it will pay this debt,? he said.
Shri Matbar Singh Kandari, leader of the Opposition, alleged that the government was making false claims of development when it has ruined the state. Shri Kandari ridiculed the booklet, Sapana Hua Sakaar (Dreams have come True) released by the state government recently. He said the dreams of those Congress leaders have really come true who have been provided the laal batti. ?For a new entity like Uttaranchal, this will prove a disaster. The state has been brought to a point where it is facing a crisis of faith. The ruling Congress has lost the local people'ssupport. The ministers have limited their activities to only their own respective constituencies,? he said.
He alleged that bureaucrats were having a field day because of the CM'sinability to deal with the state'sproblems. ?Corruption has reached the highest point. This government'sgreatest achievement is its 45 scams. In this field, Uttaranchal has left even Bihar behind. Devbhoomi has been turned into a land of demons,? he said, while demanding a white paper on the numerous scams.
Talking to Organiser, Shri Nityanand Swami, first Chief Minister of the state, said that three years of Congress government'srule have been extremely disappointing and the common man feels cheated in Uttaranchal. ?The period has produced nothing. New problems have cropped up. The administration has not remained sharp and the role of the ministers has dwindled. The future of the state is bleak if the present trend of administration continues. Several ministers have been censored by the Lokayukta office but the reports are not being placed in the Assembly. No groundwork is seen and the work started under the BJP rule, has come to a halt now,? he lamented.