At least 264 crucial Uttarakhand projects are hanging fire as majority of them are awaiting clearance from the union government on forest land transfer issues, according to a state report here.
The “indecision” has directly or indirectly slowed down the pace of development in the state, claim officials sources. A majority of these projects relate to the widening of arterial inter and intra-state roads, they say.
The prominent among them are widening of the narrow tunnel at New Delhi-Dehradun highway on the outskirts of Dehradun and construction of a four-lane Rishikesh-Doiwala road to airport.
But, the most worrying thing, according to sources, is that the delay might lead to escalation in project costs, prolong completion and thereby derail development-giving people after 10 years what they need now.
Last December, authorities gave a nod for widening of the 100-year-old tunnel into a two-lane tunnel but even after a year, the project has not come out of the file.
Similarly in 2009, the two- lane road connecting Raipur-Sehastradhara in Dehradun was approved, keeping in mind heavy rush during South Asian Winter Games that were organised in early 2010. It has been four years since the games were held but the road is yet to become a reality, the sources say.
Not just this. Seven small and mini-hydro power projects are also awaiting permission even as the hill state reels under the power shortage.
Since 2009, a proposed firing range close to Indian -China border at Mana in Chamoli district is yet to begin.
Moreover, the projects, like interstate bus terminus at Haldwani, laying of gas pipeline on Haridwar-Rishikesh route, a district jail at Bageshwar are shuttling between government departments.
When asked chief secretary N Ravishankar said, “All concerned field officers should work in a coordinated manner with a team spirit (to clear projects).”
Surender Kumar, media advisor to chief minister Harish Rawat says, “The government is looking into the issue as to what formalities are pending in our part. However, the ball is in the central govenrment’s court as in most cases, it has to give permission for forest land transfer.”