Updated: March 5, 2020 11:36:46 am
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Wednesday named Gairsain as the new summer capital of the state, partially fulfilling an over two-decade demand by statehood crusaders to make it the permanent capital.
Rawat made the announcement immediately after concluding his budget speech on the third day of the assembly session convened in Gairsain.
Uttarakhand was carved out as a separate state from Uttar Pradesh in 1998. Statehood activists had long contended that Gairsain, a tehsil in Chamoli district, was best suited to be the capital of the mountainous state as it was a hilly region falling on the border of Kumaon and Garhwal regions.
But it was Dehradun, located in the plains, that served as the temporary capital. With the fresh announcement, there is no clarity on either the city’s current status or a new winter capital. “We will take a decision after discussions,” said Rawat.
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“I dedicate this announcement to the people who sacrificed themselves for the formation of Uttarakhand state. Decision has been taken for summer capital. It is a historic moment,” he said.
The Chief Minister also said that infrastructural measures, such as ensuring availability of water, have been carried out in the tehsil.
Rawat said that the BJP in its Vision Document released before the 2017 Assembly elections had promised to equip Gairsain with top-class infrastructure and consider declaring it as a summer capital with “consensus of all”. But another promise on “permanent capital” made in the document remains incomplete.
The state Assembly is located in Dehradun, but sessions are held in Gairsain as well.
State Congress chief Pritam Singh hit out at the government for not declaring Gairsain a permanant capital.
Leader of Opposition Indira Hridayesh said the Congress had been taken by surprise with the sudden announcement. “Women and youths who had sacrificed their lives for Uttarakhand state will not forgive the BJP government for this. When Congress will come to power, the area surrounding Gairsain will be equipped with infrastructure and it will be made a permanent capital.”
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