Why UP is not letting go assets in Uttarakhand: Revenue, water for irrigation
UP irrigation department alone has under its control 4,027 residential buildings, 357 non-residential buildings and 13,813 hectares of land apart from several major dams and canals in the hill statedehradun Updated: Nov 14, 2017 20:51 IST
For 17 long years they have been “fighting” with each other “like children” over distribution of assets. Now, courtesy Supreme Court, the Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh government may finally see closure on at least one contentious issue — ownership of a resort located in Haridwar.
Hearing a civil suit that the two states have been contesting since 2004, the apex court has given Uttar Pradesh government four weeks time to resolve with Uttarakhand the issue regarding Hotel Alaknanda. The 39-room property on the banks of Ganga in Haridwar is managed by UP Tourism Development Corporation Ltd (UPSTDC).
Meanwhile, the UP government Monday moved a petition in the apex court seeking more time in the backdrop of a meeting held between the chief ministers of the two states.
Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat called on his UP counterpart Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow on November 11. Among others, the two CMs also discussed the pending asset distribution.
“UP chief minister has shown positive gesture with TS Rawat. Chief Secretaries of both states will further hold talks to resolve the pending issues,” an official communiqué said.
In fact, on November 9, Uttarakhand entered into its 18th year after being carved out of UP in 2000. For the last 17 years, the two states had been at loggerheads over distribution of assets. So much so, that the Supreme Court told the counsel of the two states during a hearing recently that the intensity with which they were contesting the litigation resembled a battle field. “Are you going to let loose the army on each other? Why are you fighting like children,” the court had remarked while advising the states to sit and resolve the dispute amicably.
“There was a lack of clarity over several issues in the state reorganisation act that has led to the pendency of assets distribution,” said SS Pangti, former director general of UP tourism. As per Pangti, it is the “financial angle” that determines the fate of the assets.
For instance with the room tariffs ranging between Rs 3,000 – Rs 8,000 Alaknanda remains almost packed round the year and is one of the “money making ventures” for UP tourism. Nonetheless, the hotel is only an example. The major tussle is over the distribution of UP irrigation department’s assets located in Uttarakhand. These properties are no less than lifeline for the western UP and are worth crores.
The UP irrigation department has under its control 4,027 residential buildings, 357 non-residential buildings and 13,813 hectares of land in the hill state. It also manages Nanak Sagar dam, Baigul dam, Dhora dam, Haripur reservoir, Bhimgoda and Sharda Barrage besides more than 40 canals in Uttarakhand.
Spread over 39,000 hectares, Nanak Sagar Dam – a major tourist attraction - is situated 231 kms from state capital here in Udham Singh Nagar district. Named after Nanakmatta, a key Sikh pilgrimage, it was built in 1962 at an initial cost of Rs 3.63 crore. The water from the dam caters to plains of Uttar Pradesh.
A UP government official, requesting not to be named, said “The Nanak Sagar dam alone is roughly worth Rs 1,800 - 2,000 crore. I don’t think UP should give its claim over Nanak Sagar and other properties.”
Tumariya dam at Kashipur, Sharda Sagar dam in Khatima, Dhaura dam at Kichha, and Baur dam in Bajpur – all in Udham Singh Nagar were constructed during 60s and provide irrigation and drinking water to UP.
Following a Supreme Court’s directive, Uttarakhand government auctions the fishing rights in Nanak Sagar and other dams, Sanjay Chhimwal, additional director (fisheries) said.
“By way of auctions, we earn anything between Rs 4-5 crore. UP irrigation department has also given us some Rs 2 crore. Still some money is pending with them as final settlement” Chhimwal added.
In Haridwar, the Har-Ki-Pauri area and Bhimgauda Barrage that is operational since 1983 are under the administrative control of UP irrigation. Uttar Pradesh government has its own ghat (bank) too in Haridwar were VIP’s from that state prefer to take a dip in Ganga.
DC Pachauri, chief engineer (Uttarakhand irrigation), expressed confidence that after UP and Uttarakhand mutually sorted out distribution of 36 canals, the other issues will also be sorted out in “due time”.
The initial efforts by Uttarakhand to claim the properties from UP were made during the regime of ND Tiwari. Later nothing substantial was done when BJP was power in Uttarakhand and BSP in UP. In 2015, then chief minister Harish Rawat met his UP counterpart Akhilesh Yadav and some official level talks began. Rawat claims he made serious efforts and now “ball is in the court of BJP governments of the two states”.
Yogi Adityanath hails from Uttarakhand and so his Uttarakhand counterpart is hoping that “the issues will be settled amicably”.
Bone(s) of contention
Hotel Alaknanda, a 39-room property on the banks of Ganga in Haridwar, managed by UP tourism department
UP irrigation department has under its control 4,027 residential buildings, 357 non-residential buildings and 13,813 hectares of land in the hill state
UP irrigation department also manages Nanak Sagar dam, Baigul dam, Dhora dam, Haripur reservoir, Bhimgoda and Sharda Barrage besides more than 40 canals in Uttarakhand.
Tumariya dam at Kashipur, Sharda Sagar dam in Khatima, Dhaura dam at Kichha, and Baur dam in Bajpur – all in Udham Singh Nagar, all constructed during 60s, provide irrigation and drinking water to UP
The Har-Ki-Pauri area and Bhimgauda Barrage are under the administrative control of UP irrigation department.