Senior Congress leader and former Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat on Saturday alleged that Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has “surrendered” to his Uttar Pradesh counterpart over an agreement between the two states on the division of assets and liabilities.
Uttarakhand was carved out of UP in 2000.
Rawat told reporters in Dehradun that the Congress will oppose this in the state Assembly and will call on Governor Lt Gen (retd) Gurmit Singh against the agreement. The former chief minister said that the party will also explore legal ways to oppose the agreement.
“It is our allegation that in the meeting of Thursday between two Chief Ministers, not only the present rights of Uttarakhand have been sold out to Uttar Pradesh, but even the future rights related to water have been handed over. A state CM is a state CM and is the advocate of the rights of their state. It appears that Uttarakhand CM has completely surrendered to the national stature of UP CM. I feel sad that Uttarakhand CM appeared very small in front of UP CM in advocating the welfare of Uttarakhand,” he said.
Rawat was referring to Dhami’s meeting with UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on division of the two states’ liabilities and assets. After the meeting, Dhami thanked Adityanath for his cooperation said that Uttarakhand was like UP’s younger brother. “Yogi ji accepted our words openly. Our motto is respect for all and development of all. The relationship between UP and Uttarakhand will grow stronger now,” he had said.
The agreement signed on Thursday came to a potential resolution on division of land and buildings under the control of the UP irrigation department, pending dues to the Uttarakhand Forest Department, among other issues. It was also decided that tourism and water sports will be allowed for Uttarakhand in Udham Singh Nagar district and the Upper Ganga canal at Roorkee.
On Saturday, Rawat said that in 2018, it was proposed by both the BJP state governments that irrigation department assets will be divided on a formula of 75-25, with Uttarakhand getting the larger chunk. This was opposed by the Congress even then, and now they are saying there will be a survey before a decision is made, he alleged.
“During our time there was a theoretical agreement on the waterbodies of Baigula and Nanak Sagar, but today instead of going forward on that, we went backward. Now the achievement (of the new agreement) is that we got the right of rafting. This means that we agreed to UP’s right on these bodies and their water and all we want is tourism rights,” he said, adding that as per the law the ownership goes to whoever’s land it is situated.
BJP spokesperson Shadab Shams said that Rawat is questioning the agreement only because he failed to do it during his tenure as CM. “All I want to say is that Harish Rawat ji was failed on this issue even though his leader Rahul Gandhi once formed an alliance with former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav. This agreement between the two CMs is in favour of Uttarakhand and the reaction from Congress shows that they did not want this matter to be resolved. The agreement will help both the states and that is for sure,” said Shams.