The ghost of Gairsain is back to haunt Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna after he finalised plans to construct a second vidhan sabha building in Dehradun.
The Chief Minister in January laid the foundation stone of a vidhan sabha building at Gairsain, a non-descript hilly town in Chamoli district in an apparent move to appease the statehood activists.
However, the Vidhan Sabha Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal has now expressed strong opposition to the government’s plans to have second house building at Dehradun and called for first settling the issue of permanent capital of the hill state where Dehradun is an interim capital only.
Kunjwal, a staunch supporter of Union Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat, in interview to Business Standard said that the government should first settle the issue of permanent capital before constructing vidhan sabha buildings. “There should not be any wasteful expenditure as far as the issue of vidhan sabha is concerned. I strongly believe that if the government is going ahead with its plans to construct a vidhan sabha building in Dehradun also then it should also settle the issue of permanent capital of the hill state,” Kunjwal said. Kunjwal wants Gairsain be made the permanent capital of the state in line with the spirit of the statehood agitation.
“If you (government) want Dehradun as the permanent capital, then vidhan sabha should be here. But If you want to construct vidhan sabha building in Gairsain, then you must declare what should be the status of Gairsain in terms of the capital of the state. I mean we should know whether Gairsain should be a summer capital or we just want to hold one session of the vidhan sabha in a year there which in anyway can also be conducted in a tent,” Kunjwal said adding he strongly believes that Gairsain be made permanent capital of the state.
Kujwal also expressed his unhappiness in the delay in constructing the vidhan sabha building at Gairsain, the work for which should have been started in June itself. Kujwal has blamed the bureaucracy for the delay.
On the other hand, the Chief Minister has clarified that the government has asked the construction agency to revise the architectural plan of the Gairsain vidhan sabha building which was exceeding the limit of Rs 75 crore. “We have fixed a limit of Rs 75 crore for the Gairsain vidhan sabha building. But now, we asked the construction agency to make a fresh plan,” said Bahuguna.
Bahuguna also said that his government has finalised plans for constructing a second vidhan sabha building at Dehradun, the foundation stone for which would be laid in November. However, Kunjwal said he was not consulted on the issue of building a second vidhan sabha building at Dehradun. “The government has the powers to take any decision. I don’t have any powers,” said Kunjwal said.
Kunjwal said he would be waiting for a cabinet decision on Dehradun vidhan sabha building.
The Uttarakhand government would utilize the funds of 13 the finance commission to build two new vidhan sabha buildings at Gairsain and Dehradun and has roped in National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC), a PSU, to prepare the DPRs of the two complexes.
Uttarakhand had received Rs 88 crore from the 13 the finance commission to build a new vidhan sabha in the hill state in place of the present building on the bank of Rispana river here which is considered to be unsafe.
Earlier, Kunjwal wanted to set up a house committee to settle the issue of second vidhan sabha building in Dehradun. However, the Chief Minister did not consult Kunjwal on the issue.