Indian subcontinent was not always the way it looks today. From Akhanda Bharat to 28 states, there have been uncountable invasions that have forcefully time and again redrawn our boundaries. During the colonial rule as well as in the post-independent India, states were reorganised and boundaries were drawn. But many of these states got engaged in long-drawn conflicts during these reorganisation activities, and many of those to date remain unresolved. Well, the BJP governments of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have set an example in this context.
The long-drawn disputes between UP and Uttarakhand
Many states have been carved out of bigger states in Independent India, like Gujarat, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand among others. Every time formation of a new state was followed by disputes over the distribution of assets and liabilities.
After the formation of Uttarakhand on November 9, 2000, the two states; Uttarakhand and parent state Uttar Pradesh also locked horns over the distribution of assets and liabilities in fields like irrigation, transport, housing, civil supplies along with tourism departments.
The main tussle was over the control of 41 canals which flowed from and back into Uttarakhand, like Tehri Dam, Nanak Sagar Dam and Haridwar’s Alaknanda Guest House. All of the aforementioned assets were located in Uttarakhand but were controlled by departments of Uttar Pradesh government.
Leaders of Uttarakhand often cite the Uttar Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2000 while raising questions about UP’s controls over the assets, as the act suggested that the property should be owned by the state where it is situated.
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Yogi and Dhami resolve decades-old conflict through dialogue
Since the formation of the state both the states have made several attempts to resolve the dispute. Several meetings have been arranged by both the states but unfortunately, most of them have been unsuccessful. The inability of consecutive Congress governments to resolve disputes resulted in long-drawn pending court cases.
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But the governments of both the states have shown immense maturity and have solved the most contested issue, the Alaknanda Guest House one. The BJP governments of both the states have reached a fruitful conclusion, hence have resolved the Alaknanda guesthouse issue. Uttar Pradesh has given the custody of the Alaknanda guest house to Uttarakhand.
On the resolution of the dispute, UP CM Yogi Aditynath said, “The issue of the Alaknanda guesthouse was long pending in the court however UP and Uttarakhand solved the matter with mutual understanding according to which UP will hand over the Alaknanda hotel to Uttarakhand and in return the state will allocate land to UP to built a guesthouse for tourists.”
To state the fact, the matter was pending in the Supreme Court of India, but the BJP governments of both the states solved the dispute mutually through dialogue. Thanking CM Yogi, Dhami said, “95 percent of the property disputes between Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have been resolved however there are five percent disputes, which are still pending in the areas of irrigation land, dams, etc.”
CMs of both the states, Yogi Adityanath and Pushkar Singh Dhami also inaugurated a 100-room Bhagirathi guesthouse in Haridwar.
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Resolution of the dispute: Not the first one of its kind
The maturity shown by both the state heads ruled by BJP has been gaining accolades, as almost all of the states are involved in disputes with their neighbouring states, and these complications have a very negative impact on the growth of the states.
However, the Bhartiya Janta Party is leaving no stone unturned in changing Congress’ legacy of exaggerating the disputes. The BJP heads of the two heads have been involved in dialogue from their first tenure itself. Before the commencement of assembly elections in 2022, it was reported that Dhami and Yogi have been engaged in dialogue in search of some solution.
Last year, both the states signed an agreement. According to which a joint survey was conducted of 5,700 hectares of land and 1,700 buildings in Uttarakhand that are under the control of UP Irrigation Department. The survey was conducted in order to identify the properties that will be useful for UP, and handover the rest to Uttarakhand.
In addition to this, UP government had granted permission to Uttarakhand to conduct tourism and water sports activities in the Dhaura, Baigul and Nanak Sagar water bodies located in Uddham Singh Nagar and Ganga canal, at Roorkee. The BJP governments of two states also decided to equally share the incomes and liabilities generated by the assets and properties of the Uttar Pradesh Awas Vikas Parishad located in Uttarakhand.
The opposition is crying hoarse over the resolution of inter-state dispute and has accused Dhami of surrendering to his UP counterpart. But this resolution is a perfect example of the model of governance BJP stands for. The two CMs agreed to withdraw pending cases from the courts and resolve them through dialogue and mutual consent, thus saving court’s time and taxpayers’ money.