Dehradun: The Trivendra Singh Rawat-led government in Uttarakhand has revoked a ban over the sale and purchase of land in the villages around Gairsain, seven years after the then government led by Vijay Bahuguna first imposed the restriction in a bid to “protect” it from land sharks.
But the new decision has backfired, with opposition parties and activists claiming that the government is playing into the hands of individuals with nefarious interests.
“The decision is nothing but an attempt to open doors for outsiders” said state Congress chief Pritam Singh.
Activist Pradeep Kukreti said, “We have been fighting to save and secure the hill state, but governments headed by national parties have no interest to safeguard the interests of highlanders.”
Other than villages near Gairsain, there is no restriction and anyone can purchase land up to 500 sq m in the state.
Activists and regional parties have long demanded that the state capital be shifted Dehradun to Gairsain. In order to pacify them, the Congress government in 2012 had decided to construct a new Vidhan Sabha building at Gairsain in Chamoli district. However, the move is yet to be implemented.
Chief Minister Trivendra Singh justified the move, terming it necessary to facilitate highlanders “who were not been able to build house in and around Gairsain”.
This is a second controversial decision of the state government – earlier, Harish Rawat’s approval allowing a liquor plant in the Hindu pilgrimage town of Devprayag to bottle whiskey had created a stir.