When it comes for a new Vidhan Sabha building, Gairsain — a nondescript town in the hilly Chamoli district — has edged out Dehradun, which is in sharp contrast to a feasibility study report prepared by the Virendra Dixit commission in 2009.
Rejecting Gairsain on the ground that its tough geographical conditions makes it unsuitable as the future capital, the commission was all praise for Dehradun for the purpose.
Apparently buckling under pressure from certain quarters, the government has decided to construct a new Vidhan Sabha building only at Gairsain and ignored the interim capital Dehradun in this regard.
After its decision to construct a grand building in Gairsain last year, the government had recently identified land at the Raipur area for a new Assembly House in Dehradun as well. The idea was to have two Vidhan Sabha buildings in the state, on the lines of Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. Since a couple of regional outfits and some Congress leaders want Gairsain as the new capital, the government is showing no urgency to have the new Vidhan Sabha building in Dehradun.
The government is also planning to utilise all the funds (Rs 88 crore) of the 13th Finance Commission to build a new House at Gairsain, after the present building on the banks of river Rispana in Dehradun was declared unsafe. But the funds could not be utilised during the past few years due to political indecisiveness.
The state government has now roped in the National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC), a PSU, to prepare the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) of the Gairsain building.
“Since the cabinet approval for building a new Vidhan Sabha in Dehradun has not been taken, we will utilise funds of the 13th finance commission for building the Vidhan Bhavan in Gairsain only,” said House Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal.
In what is being seen as a new beginning for settling the vexed capital issue in Uttarakhand, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna on Jan 14 laid the foundation stone of a new Vidhan Sabha building at Gairsain, a central but remote area in Uttarakhand.
However, Bahuguna has so far avoided making any commitment of making Gairsain the new capital of the hill state despite a scramble in this regard in certain political quarters. The chief minister has already stated that the issue of the capital of the hill state would be settled only after the completion of infrastructure facilities at Gairsain.