Disputed assets: ‘Headway’ made, final decision likely after meeting next month
Talks between Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh chief secretaries on the contentious disputed assets issue remained inconclusive here on Saturday with both sides claiming headway on most aspects.
The top bureaucrats of the two neighbouring states deferred further discussions on the issue till their next meeting to be held in Lucknow a month later.
“All pending issues were discussed… There was a consensus on most issues… A final decision on those issues may be taken in a meeting to be held in Lucknow a month later,” Uttarakhand chief secretary Utpal Kumar Singh said at a press conference that was also addressed by his Uttar Pradesh counterpart Rajiv Kumar.
Obliquely hinting at a possible attempt at resolving differences on certain issues, he said a road-map in that connection would be prepared in the intervening period ahead of the next meeting to be held in the UP capital next month.
Singh, however, dubbed both the sides having “satisfactorily resolved the issue of Alaknanda Hotel” in Haridwar as a significant achievement.
“The UP government has submitted its proposal for a hotel they plan to build on a land near the existing Alaknanda (hotel), for which approval would be granted in future,” he said.
The move comes after the UP government had agreed to hand over the Alaknanda Hotel to Uttarakhand in January this year following the Supreme Court’s intervention.
“Similarly, they have submitted to us yet another proposal for a guesthouse they plan to build in Badrinath for devotees belonging to that state visiting the shrine town (in the Chardham),” Singh said referring to the Uttar Pradesh government. He added the proposal would be favourably considered.
Officials from both sides met after chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and his UP counterpart Yogi Adityanath in a meeting held in that state last year agreed on a chief secretary-level meeting to discuss the contentious issue of the disputed assets.
Incidentally, many of its key aspects “remain unresolved” after Uttarakhand was carved out of Uttar Pradesh about 18 years ago.
Singh said the pending issues pertaining to more than a dozen departments were discussed between the officials representing the two states. The departments the top official referred to include housing, food supply, animal husbandry, forest, industries and Uttarakhand Seeds and Tarai Development Corporation etc.
Singh, however, expressed his inability to share details of the pending issues discussed at the meeting. “I am not going into the details, which can’t be shared by the chief secretaries of the two states without obtaining the permission of their respective governments,” he said.
Singh, however, said efforts from both sides were on and all pending issues would be resolved within a short time.
Echoing the similar sentiment, UP chief secretary Rajiv Kumar said several issues were progressing towards resolution.
“About other (read unresolved) issues a road map will be readied…The groundwork in that connection will be ready before the next meeting,” he said.
Kumar hoped that a final solution relating to the pending cases would be found.
To a query, he said most (95-98%) of the pending issues pertaining to financial dues between the two states had been resolved. Giving an example of the pension dues he said all related issues pending up to the year 2011 had been resolved.
“Dues relating to pension post that year (2011) are being handled by the accountant generals of both the states in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India authorities,” Kumar said.
Replying to another query, he hoped that the accounts relating to the hydropower projects located in Uttarakhand would be settled by the two states in a month.
“All issues relating to that would be resolved following a survey,” Kumar said when told that Uttarakhand has no land available for compensatory afforestation to be carried out in lieu of the trees coming in the submergence area of the Pancheshwar Dam to be built jointly by Uttarakhand and neighbouring Nepal.