Uttaranchal

Formation of New State

Uttaranchal was carved out of Uttar Pradesh on 9 November 2000 as the 27th state of the Indian Union. It consists of 13 districts, viz., Pauri Garhwal, Tehri, Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Dehradun, Rudraprayag of Garhwal division; Nainital, Almora, Pithoragarh, Udhamsingh Nagar, Bageshwar, Champawat of Kumaon division and Hardwar of Saharanpur division.

The socio-economic disparities of the hill region over the years had led to the demand for a separate state. The protest of students at Pauri in August 1994 against 27 per cent OBC reservation in education having only 2 per cent OBC population in the area, subsequently led to widespread agitations which later on turned into a mass movement for a separate state. Thus formation of Uttaranchal is the result of a prolonged struggle of the people of the hill region.

Physical Features

Spread over an area of 53,119 sq km., Uttaranchal is the 10th hill state of India. Located in the foothills of Himalayas, the state has international boundaries with China (Tibet) in the north and Nepal in the east. On its north-west lies Himachal Pradesh while on the south is Uttar Pradesh. The topography of the region is mostly mountainous with a major portion covered under forests. Keeping in view the topographic characteristics, specific availability of land resources for urban development and economic mobility, all the thirteen districts in Uttaranchal could be re-grouped into three broad categories, viz., the high mountain region (major portion of Uttarkashi, Champawat, Pithoragarh, Chamoli and Rudraprayag districts); the mid-mountain region (major areas in Pauri Garhwal, Tehri, Almora, Bageshwar districts) and Doon, Terai region and Hardwar (lower foothills, undulated plains of Dehradun, Nainital and Udhamsingh Nagar and Hardwar districts). Important peaks of the Great Himalayan region in the state of Uttaranchal are Nanda Devi, Panchachuli, Trishul, Kedarnath, Chaukhamba, Badrinath, Bandarpunch and Kamet. Among the glaciers, Pindari, Milam, Gangotri and Khatling are the important ones. The Ganges, the Yamuna, Kali (Sharda), and Ramganga are the major rivers flowing through Uttaranchal which is enriched with minerals as well as vegetations like pine, spruce, oak, rhododendron, deodar and medicinal and aromatic herbs.

General Information

The population of Uttaranchal is 70,50,634 and average male/female ratio is 976 females/1000 males. Thirteen districts of the state are divided into 49 tehsils, 95 community development blocks, 71 towns and 15,620 villages. Nearly 88 percent geographical area of Uttaranchal is hilly and remaining 12 percent area falls in the plains. The cultivable land in the state is 13.1 percent and the forest cover is 62 percent. The state is very rich in water and forest resources. Besides being home to many important places of religious interests and hill stations, the region has got immense potentialities of tourism development. These include national parks, sanctuaries, hotwater springs, trekking trails, lakes and mountain peaks.

To meet the shortage of teachers at various levels, the State Government has decided to appoint over 3,000 teachers on an ad hoc basis.

Tourism

Uttaranchal with its innate 'tourist appeal' like its scenic mountains, landscapes, lakes, forests, wildlife parks, historical and archaeological sites, religious places and cultural distinctiveness holds good promises for the development of the tourism industry. Prominent places of pilgrimage/tourist interests are Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Hardwar, Rishikesh, Hemkund Sahib, Nanakmatta, etc. Kailash Mansarover Yatra can be performed through Kumaon region. The world-famous Valley of Flowers and hill stations like Mussoorie, Dehradun, Chakrata, Nainital, Ranikhet, Bageshwar, Bhimtal, Kausani are the important places of tourist interest. In Garhwal region, the tourist spots have an adequate number of private hotels, guest-houses and lodges. The Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam makes accommodation facilities at Deval, Gangotri, Gwaldam, Ghangharia, Ghuttu, Gangi, Hanuman Chatti, Harsil, Janki Chatti, Kedarnath Mandoli, Sayana Chatti, Chandrabadni, Jaluka, Sankari and Osla. In Kumaon region such units are running under Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam at Loharkhet, Dhakuri, Khati, Dwali, Purkia, Jeepati, Malpa, Gunji, Kalapani, Paangu, Sirkhi, Budhi and Dharchula. There are adequate facilities to rent trekking equipments at some of the units of the Nigam.

Agriculture

Agriculture is the main support of the rural population. About 90 percent of agriculture practised in the hills depends on rains, and land holdings are very small. About 67 percent of the total working population is engaged in agriculture. However, Doon valley, terai area of Nainital district, Udhamsingh Nagar and Hardwar districts, produce large quantity of foodgrains. The state has immense potential for the development of horticulture crops. Apple, orange, malta, grapes, pear, plum, peach, appricot, guava, litchi, mango, papaya, banana, etc., are widely-produced fruits. The region also offers a good potentiality for growing certain specialised crops such as mushrooms, olive, spices, and decorative flowers.

Industries

Apart from the manufacturing units set up by various PSUs situated in the foot-hills, the new state can hardly boast of any industrial base at the moment. Local resource-based industries do not feature significantly in the industrial structure in the state. Of a total of 500 registered factories in the region, over half are located in the plains of Dehradun, Nainital, Udhamsingh Nagar district. Small-scale and household industries like khadi and handicrafts show a better geographical dispersal; fully hill districts have a fair share of units in this category. There are 116 sheep development centres with more than 3.5 lakh sheep in the state. Nowadays sheep-rearing is practised in all hill districts of Uttaranchal. The tribal communities of districts Chamoli, Uttarkashi and Pithoragarh are engaged in weaving woollen carpets, shawls, pankhis and blankets. Many small fruit-based units are making squash, cold drinks, jams, sauce, pickels, etc.

Minerals and Mining

It has been estimated that there are deposits of 100 million tonnes of limestone, 35 million tonnes of dolomite, 21 million tonnes of magnesite, 9 million tonnes of rock phosphate, 4 million tonnes of gypsum and 8.8 million tonnes of soap stone in different areas of the state.

Medicinal Plants

The region abounds in medicinal plants which can be used for herbal pharmaceutical industry. The cultivation of medicinal plants, particularly those found in high-altitude regions, can give a boost to the economy of the state. In the varying geographical and climatic conditions thrive different types of medicinal plants. Some of the medicinal plants growing up to 1000m are Bel, Chitrak, Kachnar, Pipali, Babul, Ashok, Amaltas, Sarpagandha, Bhringraj, Harar, Behera, Malu, Siris, Amla and Mossli. From 1000m to 3000m the medicinal plants grown are Banspa, Sugandhabala, Tejpat, Dalchini, Jhoola, Kuth, Timru, Painya, etc. Some of the medicinal plants grown above 3000 m are Atis, Mitha, Gugal, Jamboo, Mamira, Gandrayan, Bajradanti, Salammishri, etc.

Hydro-electric Generation

Uttaranchal Himalaya is one of the richest regions of the country as far as water resources are concerned. The state has the potential of generating over 15,000 MW of power. At present the state is producing 500 MW of power which usually comes down to 350 MW during winters. There are 17 hydro-electric projects already producing electricity. Also 32 mini- hydroelectric projects are producing 145 MW of power in the state. The Tehri Dam project likely to be commissioned in the next two years will generate around 2,000 MW of power. Major river projects in Uttaranchal are:

Khodri (Tons)

Dhakrani (Yamuna)

Dhalipur (Yamuna)

Chhibro (Yamuna)

Kulhal (Yamuna)

Maneri Bhali-I (Bhagirathi)

Chila (Ganga)

Kalagarh (Ramganga)

Khatima (Sharda)

Besides there are a number of microhydel generation projects in operation with 9730 kw electricity. The most ambitious power projects under construction are Vishnuprayag, Srinagar and Tehri schemes. The other proposed big power projects are Karanprayag, Kothibhal and Utyasu. These major hydropower projects, on completion, will generate 3500 MW for the state.

Important institutions in Uttaranchal

    1. Forest Research Institute, Dehradun
    2. Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun
    3. Keshav Dev Malviya Institute of Petroleum Exploration, Dehradun
    4. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd., Dehradun
    5. Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun
    6. Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun
    7. Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, Dehradun
    8. Survey of India, Dehradun
    9. Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun
    10. Instrument Research and Development Establishment, Dehradun
    11. L.B.S. National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie
    12. Defence Electronics Applications Laboratory, Dehradun
    13. Indian Military Academy, Dehradun
    14. Central Soil and Water Conservation Research & Training Institute, Dehradun
    15. National Institute of Visually Handicapped, Dehradun
    16. Rashtriya Indian Military College, Dehradun
    17. Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi
    18. Central Building Research Institute, Roorkee

Universities in Uttaranchal

    1. Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University, Srinagar
    2. G.B. Pant Kumaon University, Nainital
    3. Gurukul Kangri University, Hardwar
    4. G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar
    5. Roorkee Engineering University, Roorkee

National Parks/Sanctuaries

The mountains, meadows, lakes and dense forests in Uttaranchal support exotic wildlife and plant life. These wonderful creations of nature add a dash of splendour to nature’s abundance that exists in the environs of the Garhwal and Kumaon regions. In order to preserve this gift of wildlife and enable visitors to have a privileged view of the same, the State has created special areas, national parks and sanctuaries. As a follow-up measure, the Uttaranchal Government would soon enact a law banning use of polythene bags to save the hill State from getting polluted by this non-biodegradable menace. The following are the national parks/ sanctuaries in the State of Uttaranchal.

    1. Corbett National Park
    2. Rajaji National Park
    3. Nanda Devi National Park
    4. Valley of Flowers
    5. Kedarnath Sanctuary
    6. Askot Sanctuary

One can have the opportunity of viewing elephants, tiger, panther, bear, chital, sambar, wild boar, kakar, python and a large variety of avian fauna in their natural habitat.

State Capital

The city of Dehradun in the Shivalik foothills has been made the provisional capital of the new state even though 'Gairsen' a small town at the centre of Kumaon and Garhwal regions has been favoured as the capital of Uttaranchal. As there were not enough official facilities and infrastructure at Gairsen, the choice for the capital fell on Dehradun. Dehradun is linked with road, rail and air route and has adequate facilities to function as the interim capital.

UTTARANCHAL STATE

Date of Formation: 9 November, 2000

Area : 53,119 sq km

Population : 70,50,634

Lok Sabha Seats : 5

Rajya Sabha Seats : 3

Interim Assembly Seats

MLA & MLCs : 30

(BJP – 23, SP – 3,

Cong. I – 2, BSP – 2)

Sitting MLAs : 22

(BJP-17, SP-3,

Cong.- 1, BSP-1)

Provisional Capital: Dehradun

Seat of High Court : Nainital

Governor : Shri S.S. Barnala

Chief Minister : Shri Nityanand Swami

Economy

The mainstay of the new state is its income from tourism, forest wealth and rich water resources. Uttaranchal would share 5 per cent interest burden of its mother state’s borrowings running to Rs 60,000 crore. Its total debt liability would be Rs 3,000 crore with an annual interest liability of Rs 400 crore, whereas total revenue would be Rs 1,300 crore. Rs 53 crore have been spent for providing official, legislative and secretariat infrastructure to the new state. Uttaranchal is expected to be given the status of special state by the Union Government. The Central assistance will be to the tune of Rs 600 crore, 90 per cent of which will be subsidy and 10 per cent amount as loan.

Despite having immense potentialities of development, the region has remained backward. The unrealisitic planning had only intensified the economic backwardness of the region. Now that a separate state of Uttaranchal has come into being, it is hoped that the state will exploit all its natural resources and potential in its march towards progress.

Source:

  1. Various Newspapers. 2. CSR, 3. Uttarakhand Statehood by M.C. Sati & S.P. Sati,
  1. Booklets of Director Tourism (Hills) – UP.

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