Uttarakhand chief minister Major General (retd) BC Khanduri has a one-point agenda ahead of the assembly polls in February next year. In his second innings as CM, Khanduri, 76, wants to weed out corruption from the government. He has already asked ministers and officials to declare their assets by the second week of October. On his first day in office, the BJP leader spoke to HT on a range of issues. Excerpts:
You seem to have set your agenda to combat corruption…
I have taken couple of decisions in the first cabinet meeting (on Sunday, after he was sworn in) that gives a clear idea about my priorities. To begin, ministers and officials have to file details of their assets in a month. I am looking forward to introduction of the public service guarantee bill. I am also for a stronger lokayukta, with the CM in its ambit.
In your first tenure, you pushed an austerity drive. Is it the case this time too?
I am using three vehicles in my fleet in place of nine. The idea is to spread a message among government functionaries on curtailing unnecessary expenses. But I am not for imposing austerity. Let it be an individual choice.
Complaints of bureaucratic dominance are common. How you plan to check it?
Bureaucratic dominance will be checked the day the public service guarantee act comes into force. The act calls for accountability. Babudom will expunge itself.
Allegations of corruption against the BJP government in the past have led to negative industry sentiment. Your take?
Yes certainly. I will work towards creating an industry-friendly environment. Not only industry, other spheres too. Let there be a conducive environment for investors because Uttarakhand has ample to offer.
Will factionalism in the BJP hamper the party's poll prospects?
Factionalism is everywhere and the state unit is no exception. There are a few who have it in their nature to support factionalism. I am not among them. I am for working as a team leader and, hopefully, the results will be positive.
Infrastructure is in bad shape, particularly roads?
Since last year, the state's roads are in a very bad shape. For me it is not a poll issue. I have already ordered a task force to monitor repairs.