Candid Notes

Friday, 01 December 2023 | Gajendra Singh Negi

 Dhami’s triumph

Chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has emerged politically stronger and administratively powerful after the success of the mission Silkyara. After the initial chaos in the operation to save the lives of the trapped labourers in the tunnel in Uttarkashi district, the CM himself took the command of the operation in his hands and effectively managed the situation and steered it till it ended in the successful evacuation of the trapped workers after 17 days. He regularly visited the mishap site and camped in Uttarkashi for three days to boost the morale of the rescue workers. Showing sensitivity and deep empathy for the trapped workers and their families, the CM cancelled the Igas celebration and concentrated himself on mobilising resources, coordinating with the Union government and motivating the officers/workers engaged in the rescue operation.  By holding the Igas celebration after the rescue of the workers at his residence and inviting the evacuated workers, their families and rescue team members, Dhami has won the hearts of even his detractors.  The failure of the operation would have given the State a bad name and would have given an opportunity for Dhami’s opponents both inside his party and outside to question his leadership qualities.

 Dealing disaster

Amid the euphoria generated by the success of the mission carried out to save the lives of 41 labourers stranded in the under-construction tunnel in Silkyara, one should not forget to ponder over the point that the State needs to further strengthen its disaster management and mitigation system. Natural disasters occur with glaring regularity in Uttarakhand and considering this, the State became the first in the country to create a separate department to deal with disasters. But the red tape and careless attitude of the babudom of the State has rendered it almost ineffective. The Uttarakhand Disaster Management Authority (USDMA)- set up with the objective of being a nodal agency for planning, coordination and monitoring activities related to disaster prevention, mitigation and management- is suffering due to rampant ad-hocism. USDMA has 333 sanctioned posts but most of these are either vacant or are being manned by contractual staff.  Interestingly, after every disaster, the demand for a full- time minister to head the disaster management department surfaces but nothing has yet been done to address it. At present, the department is under the chief minister who also holds 28 other portfolios.

Changing Address

 Probably perturbed by frequent traffic jams on the roads of the provisional State capital, the Congress stalwart Harish Rawat has moved to a new house in Dehradun.  His new address is now Defence Colony where he has become neighbour of fellow former CMs- Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Trivendra Singh Rawat and Vijay Bahuguna.  Located near the Haridwar Road, Defence Colony is said to be ideal for Rawat. Apart from saving travel time -his earlier rented accommodation was in  Old Mussoorie Road that is on the other end of the city- the new location is adjacent to areas under the Haridwar parliamentary constituency from where the senior leader is planning to contest in next year’s general election.  The new address may also bring good fortune back into the courtyard of the veteran leader battered by a series of electoral losses.

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