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BJP to raise issue of creating new districts ahead of local body poll in Uttarakhand

dehradun Updated: Dec 22, 2017 19:49 IST
Nihi Sharma
Nihi Sharma
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand News,new district,local body poll

Mooted by then chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ in 2010, the initial idea was to constitute four new districts -Ranikhet, Kotdwar, Didihat and Yamunotri Ghat.(HT Photo)

Ahead of next year’s urban local body polls and the 2019 general election, the BJP wants to raise the issue of creating new districts in the state to woo voters, party insiders said on Thursday.

A committee was also constituted in this regard, they said.

Mooted by then chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ in 2010, the initial idea was to constitute four new districts -Ranikhet, Kotdwar, Didihat and Yamunotri Ghat.

Former chief minister Harish Rawat in June last year announced creation of 8 new districts. But the plan did not materialise.

At an event in Ranikhet recently, BJP state unit president Ajay Bhatt announced that the state government was working on to create new districts.

“The BJP government had announced creation of new districts during its tenure of five years. It will take a decision on this long pending demand,” Bhatt told Hindustan Times on Thursday.

But, many see it as a lollipop before the two crucial elections. A senior BJP leader not only rejected this idea but also raised concern over the financial crisis in the state owing to which this decision - if taken - could pose major setback to the economy.

“How can the government think of creating new districts when its already dealing with financial crisis? Establishing new district headquarters, appointing officers and creating new infrastructure will incur crores. Is the government ready for such a huge responsibility?” the BJP leader said on condition of anonymity.

Leader of opposition and former finance minister Indira Hridyesh, too, attacked the ruling party on this issue.

“The government has debts of ₹40,000 crore to pay. They are unable to pay salaries of employees. There’s severe financial crunch and under such circumstances they are planning for new districts. It’s nothing but a political stunt,” she said.

New districts will at least need investment of ₹250 crore each, she said, adding that the move was a political gimmick aimed at wooing voters.

When Harish Rawat had announced creation of 8 new districts, the BJP, too, had accused the Congress government of raising the issue to woo voters ahead the assembly election.

Urban development minister Madan Kaushik has his eyes set on the report. He accepted that the hill state is reeling under financial crisis, but he also assured that the report submitted by the team would help in deciding the future course of action.

“The team constituted under the chief secretary is yet to submit its report. We will take action on the basis of the report. It’s not a political agenda but creating of new districts is for the welfare of the people,” Kaushik told HT.

First Published: Dec 22, 2017 19:49 IST