STATE EYES INVESTMENTS : Chief Minister , Uttarakhand
STATE EYES INVESTMENTS, AIMS TO SET AN EXAMPLE WITH NH-74 SCAM PROBE: CHIEF MINISTER
Monday, 13 August 2018 | Dehradun–
About a year and a half after he assumed office as the State’s Chief Minister, Trivendra Singh Rawat and the State of Uttarakhand continue to face various challenges. While the State Government claims to be undertaking progressive works in various spheres, the opposition continues to question the Government on these and other aspects. At a time when the decisions and actions taken by the State Government have become all the more crucial in deciding whether the State and its people progress or suffer in the future, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat elaborated upon the priorities, challenges and other aspects being handled by the State Government in an exclusive conversation with Paritosh Kimothi and Gajendra Singh Negi of The Pioneer.
An “Investors Summit’ is scheduled to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Dehradun in October. How does the State intend to benefit from it?
There is immense potential for development in the service sector here. It involves comparatively less investment and generates more employment and benefits. For example, as in the tourism industry, there are major possibilities for development. The people of Uttarakhand have hospitality in their nature and have left their mark in service sector across the world. In tourism, we are focusing on wellness, adventure,
religious and eco-tourism. The State has proper training institutes to train people and meet the industry demand. Film shooting is another area which has considerable potential as best locations and a conducive atmosphere is available here. In the past one and half year, 43 movies and television serials have been shot in Uttarakhand. Recently I met Rajamauli who has shown interest to shoot Bahubali
III in Uttarakhand. Noted filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri too was very appreciative of film shooting in Uttarakhand. He opined that the State is like an open-air studio and people here are very friendly and helpful, making it quite conducive for film shooting.
Two IAS officers have been called for questioning by the special investigation team in the National Highway 74 scam. With doubts also existing on the role of politicians in the scam, will the probe be extended to prominent politicians too?
Our aim is to ascertain where the Rs 225 crore ended up in this scam and bring the guilty to book. We have already made it clear to the investigating officer to get to the last and highest person involved in the scam. The state has made it clear that the investigation must be conducted without any bias, interference, fear or influence of even the highest persons involved in the scam. The SIT is conducting an impartial investigation due to which probably for the first time in the state’s history are we seeing such a case wherein some people have also left the country while others are offering to return the amount they received in excess of what they were eligible for. As far as the role of politicians is concerned I have made it clear that the corrupt, whosoever they may be, would not be spared. We want the NH 74 probe to be an example in such cases.
You have initiated efforts to revive the Rispana river in Dehradun and Kosi river in Almora. At the same time the state government has also promulgated an ordinance deferring removal of slums for three years. Are the river revival plan and slum ordinance compatible?
Actually, these two aspects are not contradictory. For the revival of rivers, with commendable public participation we planted lakhs of trees on the banks of the Rispana and Kosi rivers in a single day.
We are also working on digging trenches, dense plantation of select species on riverbanks which consolidate the soil and also provide fruits for the local fauna. We are also building a dam on the Song river which will be about 140 metres high and 4.5 kilometres long. This would not only help revive the river but also recharge the groundwater levels. When it comes to the slums, we are planning to provide slum dwellers homes under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY). By relocating the slum dwellers to multi-storied residences under the PMAY, we will also have a land bank of about 200 hectares here. At a time when there is shortage of land in such locations for developing various important public facilities, this land freed from slums would be used for public utility works like building hospitals, playgrounds, gardens and Panchayat halls among others. On the other hand, the slum dwellers too would have a better place to live in.
Recently, BJP MLAs have raised objections on various issues. After raising ‘beef Biryani’ issue, the Laksar MLA raised the issue of abattoir in Haridwar. What is this all about?
The permission to set up the slaughter house at Manglaur in Haridwar district was given during 2016 during the tenure of the previous state government. I have asked the District Magistrate to cancel the permission for the abattoir.
In recent months the Uttarakhand High Court issued orders on various issues including encroachments, muck dumping in infrastructural projects and so on. Does this point at failure of successive State Governments to adhere to the norms?
It is not so. Actually in cases like the all weather road project, the detailed project report is made and various environmental requirements are met with only after which the forest and environmental clearances are received from the ministry. In the case of the all weather road, it would have been better had the High Court gone for a technical verification first. People of Uttarakhand understand the importance of forests better than others. We know that we cannot survive without forests which is why our forest area is also increasing. Such is the situation that due to lack of space for compensatory afforestation in such projects we are seeking permission from the government of India to undertake such plantation in degraded forests as well.
Your government claims the Transfer Act for state government employees to be one of its major achievements. Why then are the employees complaining about major discrepancies in the act?
One of the major reason of complaints is the division of the work place on the basis of easily accessible (Sugam) and difficult to access (Durgam) locations. For it we had asked the employees’ organisations to give their proposals for such categorisation. However, no such proposals have been received from the employees’ organisations. We have received the proposals only from the departments concerned so far. We are makingnecessary changes to make the act more practical.
Personal attacks on you and your family members have increased in recent times. Who do you think is behind this?
In such cases like allegations levelled at my family member, the required legal action is being pursued against those levellingbaseless allegations. Some anti-party elements may also be behind such moves. There is no pressure from the Government to influence the handling of such cases. read more post…
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