Declaring Gairsain as the permanent Capital of the State – Pros and Cons.
Brig (Retd) K.G.Behl
With reference to the demand of various sections of the society for declaring Gairsain as the capital of the state and recent statement of the Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Trivendra Singh Rawat asking officials to examine the possibility of making it a state capital and meanwhile developing it into a township.
Although there should be no doubt that Gaisain will be ultimately developed into a State capital but immediate action may be required for quick development of Gairsain on the lines desired.
In fact it may not be appropriate to declare Gairsain as permanent capital till all needed developments for a state capital are ready. But keeping in view the latest agitations in and around Gairsain during present assembly session it would be appropriate if Gairsain is declared Permanent Capital after the essentials required for making it a permanent Capital are ready by some fixed date keeping in mind the probable number of years it is likely to take and also the funds required during the period to complete those projects. Thus Govt. can declare that it will be permanent Capital with effect from such and such year and before that it will remain summer capital so that those projects needed may start and take shape.
When the State of Uttarakhand was being created it must have been the brain child of some one that the capital should be selected which is centrally located from Garhwal and Kumaon and Gairsain was probably found big enough to develop and take shape of a capital without realizing that a capital should be a place which should have sufficient infrastructure and capacity to develop further so that people from all over the State could have an easy access and reach.
For this purpose the capital should be connected to not only all parts of the state but the different parts of the country especially by Road, Rail and Air. In their exuberance on the formation of this new hill state this aspect was probably forgotten and Gairsain was projected as the new Capital. But when all these aspects were considered Dehradun was selected as a temporary capital as it had the potential and infrastructure to quickly fit in.
Of course since it was a hurried decision there was no planned development and it turned into an haphazard temporary capital, with the fear that one day capital has to be shifted from here and since no proper planning was done by creating suburban town ships around. It has created a chaos in traffic practically on all main routes of the town.
The increase in population has forced the housing to go vertically up and many multi-story complexes have come up to cater for that even though it is well known fact that the area falls in a highly seismic Zone and needs special protection. In spite of all that the height of the buildings was raised adding many stories and width of roads required as per National Specifications was reduced along with tempering many other laid down norms. It has resulted in creating traffic, water and sewer, garbage and many allied problems.
Now coming back to Gairsain it is well known that the town is surrounded by hills where the soil is brittle which during rainy season is prone to land slides. Moreover it is not connected to all district Headquarters directly – even by all weather roads, leave aside connection by train or by Air. Moreover no one bothered to work out as to how much time and funds will be needed if these essential items are provided. Even now this aspect is being ignored by those who are projecting the case of declaring Gairsain as the Capital of the state.
As such Govt. should declare for the time being as the Summer Capital of the State and start works to connect it by all weather roads to practically all parts of the state and initiate surveys for getting it connected by Rail and Air. Since bringing all the above connections are likely to take fairly a long time, time bound schemes be initiated so that it soon becomes capable of being declared as The new Capital of the State of Uttarakhand. It should be declared that Gairsain will be capital of the State once all the needed paraphernalia for the functioning of the state capital is ready. Strict watch need to be kept on required developments so that the land mafia do not unnecessarily escalate land prices and put hindrances in acquiring land for various purposes.
Disclaimer: The views offered by the author are personal.