Twenty-one years after Uttarakhand was carved out of Uttar Pradesh, the division of assets between the two states is still being worked out. This week, one of these issues was settled when UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath handed over the Alaknanda Tourist Guest House in Haridwar to Uttarakhand, and inaugurated in return a Bhagirathi Tourist Guest House, built on land owned by it nearby.
The two states also claimed that almost all the disputes pending since Uttarakhand was announced (then as Uttaranchal), on November 9, 2000, had now been resolved.
The political division between the two states had been relatively easy, with 13 districts from UP – i.e. Pauri Garhwal, Tehri Garhwal, Uttar Kashi, Chamoli, Dehradun, Nainital, Almora, Pithoragarh, Udham Singh Nagar, Bageshwar, Champawat, Rudraprayag and Haridwar – going to Uttarakhand. Accordingly, 80 Lok Sabha seats came to UP, five went to Uttarakhand; and 403 Assembly seats stayed in UP while 70 went to Uttarakhand.
The handover of Alaknanda Tourist Guest House by UP was decided during a meeting in November 2021. It took so long as UP was reluctant to give up the prime property by the banks of the Ganga, with its own private ghat. Uttarakhand was as keen to have it given that tourism is the mainstay of its economy.
The asset distribution between the states at the time of the division had been broken down into sections like Irrigation, Housing, Tourism, Food and Civil Supplies, Forest Department and Transport Department.
Some points of dispute:
1) Uttarakhand demanded about 697 hectares of land under the Irrigation Department in Haridwar, where Kumbh Mela was organised. It was finally agreed that the ownership of the land would remain with UP, but the authority to issue permissions for the Mela and other events would be with Uttarakhand. Uttarakhand also demanded that 20 minor canals in Udham Singh Nagar and four in Haridwar be transferred to it.
2) Uttarakhand demanded that the Uttar Pradesh Irrigation Department pay Rs 57 crore as electricity dues. The agreement was finally reached on Rs 20 crore.
3) While Uttarakhand was due to pay Rs 105 crore to the Food and Civil Supplies Department of UP against the portion of loan taken by UP that had gone to Uttarakhand’s share, it was finally adjusted against the Rs 205 crore that the UP Transport Department was meant to pay to the Uttarakhand Transport Department.
4) Revenue earnings from the auction or allotment of properties of Uttar Pradesh Awas Vikas Parishad in Uttarakhand were to be shared 50:50 between the states, and put in a joint account.
5) One major issue now remains, and it is likely to take a long time to resolve, being beyond the scope of both the states and requiring the Central government’s intervention. “The Tehri Dam project share is still pending. While the issue was taken to the Supreme Court, there is little that states can do as the Central government has a 75% share in the project, which not only provides electricity but also water to UP as well as Delhi,” said a senior official. UP has a 25% share, having made huge investments in construction of the project, and Uttarakhand wants this transferred to it as the project is located on its territory.