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on improving its

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IN the absense of the decentralised socio economic, educational, industrial, medical , agricultural and health related development during the last seventeen years though the conditions of the local towns must have improved to some extent, the large scale influx to the tune of about 32 lakh inhabitants of Uttarakhand from villages to state capital Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh etc and metropolises like Delhi and Mumbai have undubtedly led people to believe that the successive governments of this Himalayan state have indeed not responded to the expectations of the rural electorates and instead promoted the interests of the plain areas and those residing here enjoying all facilities and comforts.

Lot and lot have been said and written about the plight of the hill people who had been constrained to leave villages enmasse in view of the lack of basic health and educational facilities including options of job avenues. Health and education apart from sustenance through agriculture are the prime basic requirements of human beings. But unfortnately the governments of Uttarakhand which have ruled this 17 years old state have drastically failed on these fronts though they do claim of doung tremendously for the peoples’welfare. Now the situation has gone to such a sorry pass that deliveries of ptegnant women are taking place on swinging bridges as happened just a few days ago in Tyuni Chakrata in a constituency of the state Congress president and five time MLA but under the rule of the BJP government.

One can just imagine the plight of the women in view of the lack of health n medical faciities. Similarly on the educational front two while the state is already witnessing closure of about25000 primary and middle schools and new order by the state’s education minister Arvind Pandey has further added to the vows of the remaining villagers of Uttarakhand. According to the new order the schools which has the capacity of less than 10 students willbe either closed or merged with the other school situated within the periphery of one kilometre. This means thousands of other schools are now on verge of closure in addition to the already shut down schools thus adversely affecting the educational career of thousands of poor village students of primary, middle and intermediate schools. According to one of the reports out of several blocks in Uttarakhand Bironkhal block in Garhwal will witness the closure of such 55 schools. Bironkhal development block has 135 primary schools.

But due to the complacense and ignorant attitide of the local teachers andthe officers of the department of education the status and standard of education is not improvising as a result of which the students participation in primary schols is decreasing day by day. Therefore the poor parents are worried of their childrens’ academic future. Similarly is the condition of schools in almost all the blocks of Uttarakhand. The teachers use their political clout or after allegedly bribing senior officers get themselves transferred to the plain areas near their hous and majority of the schools in the interiors are without teachers thus affecting the career of the students.

Same is the condition of the local hospitals and health centres where doctors are conspicuous by their absense. Such disturbing and shocking status of schools and hospitals in the interiors and even towns of Uttarakhand bereft of teachers, students and doctors have ultimately led villages to leave their respective villages and migrate to the plains in search of adequate and better job, educational and health prospects thus literally undermining the concept for which separate Uttarakhand state was created after the loss of 47 precious lives. It’s not that the government is not doing anything. They are definitely doing but the thrust is required in the interior villages not in towns.

SUNIL NEGI