The Uttarakhand government is planning to set up six model towns in hill areas with an aim to promote development and check downhill migration by generating livelihood opportunities.
“We will develop these high-quality model towns in the hills with special focus on education and health services, roads and drainage/sewerage facilities,” urban development minister Madan Kaushik told HT on Sunday.
“Once set up, model towns will prevent migration from nearby villages (to plains),” said Kaushik.
The announcement of the plan, however, triggered a war words between the ruling BJP and opposition Congress.
The Congress said the BJP was just serving “old wine in a new bottle” as the government-led by it last year announced to set up six ‘smart townships’ in the state.
Minister Kaushik, however, rubbished the allegations. “Theirs (the Congress government’s) was nothing but a false promise…they didn’t even move an inch on the plan,” he said.
Townships planned by the erstwhile Congress government were to have residential and commercial infrastructure. The plan, however, remained on papers only as the party was voted out of power in the state election.
Sources in the Congress said the party had tentatively planned five of the six townships in the hills - two in Almora district and one each in Uttarkashi, Chamoli and Nainital districts.
Congress state unit vice-president Jot Singh Bisht said: “So far, most of the ideas they (the BJP) have come up with have been copied either from the Yogi (Adityanath, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh) government or from our (Congress) government...and this happens to be just one of the examples.”
The BJP’s ‘Vision Document’ released ahead of the February assembly poll “lacked originality and a clear vision”, he said.