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BJP, Congress spar over NGT’s ruling on assembly building in Gairsain

A day after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) reprimanded it for building a Vidhan Sabha Bhawan at Gairsain without obtaining environmental clearances, the Uttarakhand government said it would act in compliance with the (NGT) order

dehradun Updated: Nov 16, 2017 20:37 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand News,Gairsain,NGT
The foundation stone for Vidhan Sabha Bhawan at Gairsain was laid by former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, a former Congressman who joined the BJP just before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.(HT File Photo)

A day after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) reprimanded it for building a Vidhan Sabha Bhawan at Gairsain without obtaining environmental clearances, the Uttarakhand government said it would act in compliance with the (NGT) order.

“We are yet to receive the copy of the NGT order. However, we will take all steps to ensure that its directions are complied with,” parliamentary affairs minister Prakash Pant said. He, however, accused the previous Congress regime of “failing to take the required environmental clearances before it ordered” the construction of the Vidhan Sabha Bhawan in that hill town (Gairsain.)

“They should have taken all environmental clearances required before orders were issued for construction of the Vidhan Sabha Bhawan”, Pant said referring to the previous Congress government. He, however, clarified that the incumbent BJP government would “study the NGT order and all its directions regarding the Vidhan Sabha Bhawan will be strictly adhered to.”

The opposition Congress hit back at the BJP government asking it to clarify whether the latter “wants” a Vidhan Sabha Bhawan in the mountain state’s centrally located hill area (Gairsain). “Let them clarify their stand on the issue instead of indulging in blame game”, said Congress leader Surendra Kumar trying to corner the ruling BJP on the sensitive issue of the hill state’s permanent capital that continues to elude it since its formation in 2000.

The foundation stone for the Vidhan Sabha Bhawan at Gairsain was laid by former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, a former Congressman who joined the BJP in the wake the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Congress veteran Harish Rawat who succeeded Bahuguna went ahead with the construction of the Vidhan Sabha Bhawan. He also declared Gairsain as the state’s summer capital and also convened the assembly sessions there. “The step is aimed at realising the people’s expectations”, Rawat had said hinting that the assembly sessions being convened at Gairsain were a part of his move to declare the latter as a permanent capital.

The BJP government too has promised that it would declare it (Gairsain) as the permanent capital. Incidentally, both the Congress and the BJP have been fighting shy of declaring it (Gairsain) as a permanent capital fearing a backlash from the plains.

The Congress has, however, been accusing the BJP of having “messed up” the issue of the permanent capital. “If it really wished, the BJP would have commissioned Gairsain as a permanent capital long ago as it was ruling both at the Centre and in the state when the latter came into being 17 years ago”, Kumar told Hindustan Times.

First Published: Nov 16, 2017 20:32 IST