The euphoria generated by the ensuing Himalayan Conclave, the congregation of chief ministers of 11 Himalayan states, scheduled at Mussoorie this Sunday has fuelled aspirations and raised expectations of the people of Uttarakhand. It is anticipated that the Himalayan states would pitch for recognition, evaluation and eventually monetary compensation from the centre for the ecological services rendered by them. The expectations of the highlanders dwelling in the cradle of mighty Himalayas is not unfounded because the youngest, loftiest and ecologically most sensitive mountain range of the world acts as a lifeline for major portion of South Asia acting as a giant water tower and source of oxygen. It is a fact that the people living in Himalayan states have protected environment and forests for ages but environmental regulations penned by those who have no real association with forests have ensured alienation of simple folks of Himalayas from all things ecological. However, considering fiscal constraints of the government, regional and political dynamics, it is highly unlikely that these states would be able to force the agencies like NITI Aayog and Finance Commission to loosen strings of their purse. Host State Uttarakhand would also aspire that the centre bestows the status of special category on it as such a status is already enjoyed by north eastern states and Jammu and Kashmir.
Stories of bureaucrats giving the slip to the ministers and not paying much heed to them are common in Uttarakhand and on few occasions the pain of the ministers is manifested in public. In one such instance which happened recently, a senior cabinet minister openly rebuked his officers for not consulting him for transfers done in the department headed by him. The annoyance of the minister who apart from being in politics also has a considerable religious following and is reverently referred to as Maharaj is understandable but it is equally true that the Minister remains busier in other activities that affect his performance in governance. Interestingly, this minister has remained sulking ever since he grudgingly accepted the position of a cabinet minister in TSR government. His expressions of annoyance at not being provided services of a double engine helicopter in one of his visits to Badrinath and shunting out his favourite Babu from a department headed by him tried to establish a notion that he is not being given the respect he deserves in the government.
Intriguing as it may sound, the office an all powerful Babu situated on the fifth floor of the new building of the state secretariat has become a favourite retreat among the civets. All work in the office of the Babu gets disrupted whenever the scary looking but shy animal is spotted and frantic calls are made to the forest department which responds by quickly sending its crack team having expertise in the work of animal rescue. The team has so far fished out civets four times in the recent past from the office of the dominant Babu whose deeds and tactfulness always remain buzzing in the corridors of power in the state. The wildlife experts are also clueless on the reason behind strong affinity of a nocturnal animal such as civet known for producing a heady musk from its glands for workplace of this particular officer.
Friday, 26 July 2019 | Gajendra Singh Negi
Author: Gajendra Singh Negi
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