Uttarakhand govt in a fix over demands for Gairsain as the capital

Last Updated: Sun, Jan 06, 2013 20:12 hrs

With the Uttarakhand government’s decision to construct two new Vidhan Sabha buildings at Gairsain and Dehradun, a controversy is brewing in the hill state over Gairsain to replace Dehradun as its capital.

A section of the statehood activists, who are opposed to Dehradun as an interim capital, are up in arms against the government’s decision to build a new Vidhan Sabha building at a Railpur locality here.

The activists comprising Uttarakhand Mahila Manch have asked the government to make Gairsain, a nondescript town in the hilly Chamoli district, as a permanent capital of the state. Vidhan Sabha Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal, a protégé of union water resources minister Harish Rawat, has also stirred a hornet’s nest by advocating Gairsain be made the summer capital of the hill state.

Kunjwal’s advocacy of summer capital in Gairsain has put Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna in a fix. “The chief minister is upset because Kujwal did not consult him on the issue,” said a senior Congress leader.

A section of senior Congress leaders especially from plains are reading too much in the controversy generated over the capital issue. “I don’t want to comment on the summer capital issue. But Vidhan Sabha building should also remain in Dehradun,” said the state’s Sports Minister Dinesh Agarwal, an MLA from Dharampur area in Dehradun.

The chief minister on Sunday sought to steer clear the controversy, saying his first priority would be to construct a Vidhan Sabha building and make necessary infrastructure facilities at Gairsain. “It will take a three-year time to build infrastructure facilities and a new Vidhan Sabha at Gairsain. We will see what can be done after three years,” said Bahuguna.

The controversy arose in the wake of the government’s recent decision to shift Vidhan Sabha building to a new place at Raipur area in Dehradun. The present Vidhan Sabha building is constructed at a location, that is considered to be a river bed area which creates traffic snarls during assembly sessions in the city.

Besides, the government has also decided to lay a foundation stone of a new vidhan sabha building at Gairsain on January 14 to organise a one-assembly session during summers. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is expected to visit Gairsain on January 14 over the issue.

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