Dehradun: Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat announced on Monday that the BJP government would soon introduce a policy to check forced migration from the hills and ensure that the initiative “is taken to its logical conclusion.”
He said his government would correct the deficiencies leading to “large-scale” outflow of industrial investments from the state.
In his maiden interaction with media persons after taking over as the CM on Saturday, Rawat said fiscal discipline would be introduced to bail out the state reeling under a debt burden of ₹45,000 crore.
He said the decisions taken by the previous Congress government would be reviewed. “The decisions that wouldn’t be found acceptable after evaluation would be changed.”
All corrupt officials would be identified and action could be taken against them, he said. “We will certainly consider the suggestion that merit, not nepotism, should be the criterion for assigning duties to officials,” Rawat said. “It will also be mandatory for officials to keep their mobile phones switched on,” he said when some reporters complained that most bureaucrats “do not” reply to their calls.
Rawat said it would be mandatory for ministers and BJP legislators to declare their assets. “Our legislators have already been declaring their assets,” he clarified.
Rawat parried a question if his government would enforce the Lokayukta (anti-graft) Act and Transfer Act introduced by the earlier BJP regime in 2011. He clarified that his government would enforce all the laws that “our erstwhile (BJP) government” had introduced. “Such laws that would soon be enforced would also include the Uttarakhand Protection of Cow Progeny Act,” he said.
“We will soon take a decision on Gairsain,” he said when asked if his government would declare the state’s centrally located hill town as its summer capital in keeping with the BJP’s promise in its vision document on development.
Rawat expressed his government’s resolve to link Kumaon and Garhwal regions through a “short-cut route” (Kandi Marg) that passes through Corbett National Park. He admitted that resolving the issue of division of disputed assets between Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh was challenging. “The circumstances though are now favourable for resolving the impasse as the BJP is ruling both the states.”
Rawat called forced migration a matter of “deep concern also from the point of social insecurity” it leads to. “We will take the help of the (Uttarakhandi) diaspora and intellectuals in checking the forced migration,” he said, adding they would be invited to a conference to be held in Dehradun.
Rawat noted that forced migration from the hill districts touching international borders with China and Nepal was a serious issue because of strategic reasons. “The border districts emptying out is a serious issue because the army needs the cooperation of the locals while guarding the frontiers.”
Rawat said his and ministers’ participation in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in Garhwal on Saturday would give a boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project. “A similar campaign would be carried out to clean Ganga as part of the Namami Gange project,” the CM said.