Uttarakhand is commemorating its 21st foundation day; on this day in 2000, three states, namely Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand, separated from UP, MP, and Bihar. Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand were carved based on their cultural and geographical characteristics, although Uttarakhand had been a long-standing desire of the Pahadi people due to its rugged terrain, ethnicity, and climate. However, the UP split has not met the expectations of the people of Uttarakhand, whose capital was previously Lucknow and is now Dehradun. A Pithoragarh resident can get to Lucknow in less time than to reach Dehradun. Even though the state was created as a Pahadi state, the entire Pahad had to come to the plains to solve their Health, Education & Employment.
People are now migrating to Dehradun, Haldwani, and Kotdwar in search of a better life. The figures in the below table show the increase in population in the Terai districts of Uttarakhand. Pahad is being evacuated in increasing numbers. According to the Uttarakhand government, more than 2000 villages have been designated as ghost villages, where no one lives, which is a clear defeat of the purpose of creation of this state out of Uttar Pradesh.
Whether it's security risks from China along the Tibet border, recent indignation over Muslims buying property and building houses in isolated border districts, or the loss of a magnificent Kumaon and Garhwal culture, migration is a challenge in every way. The recent territorial rains have cast serious doubt on the Hill state's future development. For weeks, the rain has wreaked havoc on the slopes. This is the time to reconsider the entire Hill state strategy, especially in health, education and employment on the likes of Himachal and Sikkim. This state needs to be treated as a Hill state, and the policies must be formed accordingly. Rapid migration is the most difficult task for state and federal governments to address, and it should be a top priority for both of them.
The issue to be addressed immediately is health, equipment is being mobilised in the post-Covid situation, but where are the excellent doctors? Due to the remoteness of the settlements, young pregnant mothers continue to die without receiving timely care. To handle the significant health challenges, district hospitals must have specialist doctors. Tahasil level hospitals must provide excellent medical care, including ICU units, which are currently only provided in Haldwani, Rishikesh, and Doon.
In the name of Hill state, all national institutions such as IIT, IIM, and AIIMS are located in the Tarai area, which is a grave injustice to the innocent Pahadis. Even the recently planned second AIIMS is set to be built near Kashipur, which is something the leadership should reconsider. It appears that the Tarai lobby is united in its opposition to the Pahadis. All of this is happening as a result of vote bank politics, as the Tarai has the majority of the people living in its vicinity and Hills are evacuated each passing day.
The next major difficulty in the near future will be represented in the state legislature; as the population of Terai districts grows exponentially, Pahad will lose seats in a new format of population limits. The representation must be on the basis of area exclusively, as the hills have a much lower population density than planes, and thus must be done accordingly, or else this state will be a big joke in the name of hill state and should be merged with Uttar Pradesh as it has no purpose to support it.