Leader of Opposition in the Uttarakhand Assembly, Harak Singh Rawat has announced that he will be moving a private member’s Bill in the upcoming Session seeking a resolution to merge 185 villages of Bijnore district of Uttar Pradesh into Uttarakhand as the people living there were mostly of hill origin and depended on Kotdwar in Pauri district for power, education, medicine and market facilities. The locals are agitating under the banner of the Seemawarti ( bordering) Uttarakhand Sangharsh Samiti.

“The Uttarakhand Government has recently said that it would no longer be able to supply power to these villages and alternative arrangements from Uttar Pradesh would take a long time. Since the villagers have been agitating to merge with Uttarakhand it becomes the moral duty of both the Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh Governments to ensure social justice to them,” he said adding that the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mayawati who favoured smaller administrative units for better governance should not object to these villages getting merged with Uttarakhand.

Similarly, the Uttarakhand Government should immediately open the Kotdwar- Kalagarh- Ramnagar motor road as that would reduce the distance between Dehra Dun and Ramnagar near Naini Tal by over 100 kms. A small stretch of this road is held up due to a writ by some environmentalists in the Apex court. ‘ Once this road is opened people will be able to reach Ramnagar from Dehra Dun in about three hours in place of the over nine hours taken through the circuitous and heavily congested road through Najibabad, Mr Rawat said.

The Uttarakhand Kranti Dal has however taken strong exception to Mr Rawat’s stand as the merger of the 185 villages might create demographic problems.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party while favouring smaller States, felt that the villages close to the Uttarakhand border along Saharanpur and Bijnore districts could be included in the hill State as the local populations had been demanding the same for developmental reasons for several years now.

It may be mentioned that a section of the business and farming community has been seeking merger of Saharanpur into Uttarakhand as it served as the fast track gateway to mandis across the nation for agricultural and horticultural produce.

Gopal Aggarwal, Samajwadi Party leader in Meerut and chief convenor of Paschim Uttar Pradesh Swadhikar Jan Andolan- a non political front comprising members from all sections - however felt that Ms Mayawati should think of establishing a second Capital in Hastinapur and hold alternative sessions of the Assembly there. “This single step would ensure a balanced growth of both the Western and Eastern cum Central parts of Uttar Pradesh,” he said adding that bifurcation was a good stunt but not a solution to the problems faced by Uttar Pradesh.