‘Govt has no fund to make Gairsain the state capital’
Finance minister Prakash Pant says the government lacks the huge investment – which is likely to run into hundreds of crores – required for making Gairsain the state’s capital. “As of now, the plan is to hold one assembly session in a year at Gairsain.”dehradun Updated: Dec 27, 2017 20:55 IST
DEHRADUN: The BJP-led government may have deferred a decision on making Gairsain the state’s permanent capital but it certainly lacks the capital required for doing so at the moment, finance minister Prakash Pant said on Wednesday.
During the winter session of the assembly at Gairsain, chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat had said the people would “have to wait for some time for the Gairsain issue to be resolved”.
Pant, however, made it clear that even if such a decision were to be taken, the government lacks the huge investment – which is likely to run into hundreds of crores – that will be required for making Gairsain the state’s capital. “As of now, the plan is to hold one assembly session in a year at Gairsain. No decision has so far been taken on (making Gairsain the capital), but we certainly don’t have the adequate resources for it as of now,” he told Hindustan Times.
The people from the hills have for long been demanding to make Gairsain - a small hill town in Chamoli district – the permanent capital of Uttarakhand for its equal accessibility from both Garhwal and Kumaon regions. On the other hand, Dehradun, which has been serving as the provisional capital for the last 17 years, is located in the Garhwal region, which the people from Kumaon find difficult to access.
Of the new states created in or after the year 2000, Uttarakhand is the lone one without a permanent capital. Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, which were also carved out of their parents states in 2000, have Ranchi and Raipur as their capitals. Even Andhra Pradesh – which is currently sharing Hyderabad as its capital with Telangana – is working to set up its new capital Amravati. The southern state has earmarked Rs 58,000 crore for the new capital.
The issue of declaring Gairsain as the permanent state capital has been lingering on ever since Uttarakhand was carved out of Uttar Pradesh in 2000. The demand has remained inseparably linked with the politics and public ethos in the state.
While successive governments have remained non-committal on taking a final stand, observers say carving out a new capital will mean additional expenditure by the young state which is already reeling under debts hovering over Rs 40,000 crore.
“At present, we are developing an assembly building and related infrastructure at Gairsain. The state on its own cannot afford (setting up a new capital), so we want it (Gairsain) to be developed as a smart city first, for which are requesting the Centre to help us with,” Pant said.
Over Rs 124 crore have already been spent on setting up an assembly building at Gairsain, while works to the tune of around Rs 26 crore are still pending. “If we get the funds (from the Centre), it will become easier for us to take a decision (on making Gairsain the state capital),” he added.