Lack of focus on a people-oriented development policy even 10 years the creation of Uttarakhand has left many in the state disillusioned. The villagers continur to live in drudgery as no need-oriented self-employment schemes had been introduced. The few schemes that are there are cornered by the already influential class. The state government and power companies promised development to the simple villagers in Uttarakhand when the Tehri dam was built. But the same Tehri dam has become the ‘monster of Uttarakhand’. The dam has brought unimaginable destruction to Uttarakhand in the form of flash floods. The media is focusing all its attention to Commonwealth Games in Delhi, but this hill state of India is suffering like never before. The central government has thrown a meager cash package of Rs. 500 crore for relief, but that is being pocketed by the ministers and bureaucrats, not to speak of the share of commission for the contractors and engineers.
The people of Uttarakhand who were promised ‘development’ by Tehri dam now wonder why the government has failed to set up or promote fruit processing units in the hills. Over 40 per cent of citrus fruits are left to rot for want of market connectivity. Perhaps processing centres would be set up to convert these valuable fruits into squash, pickles, jams and marmalade that had a ready market in the plains. Most of the people in the hill state are moving to Delhi to work as labourers in construction sites after their short term compensation is over.
Like Uttarakhand, the ministers of Arunachal Pradesh need a change in the mindset of politicians and bureaucrats to promote and support cottage enterprises in the fields of horticulture, floriculture, tourism, angling and adventure sports in a big way would usher in prosperity for the poor villagers and help them to be self-sufficient. The people of Arunachal Pradesh who has been promised compensation by the government should go and see the Tehri dam disaster in the hill state of Uttarakhand and the film ‘Peepli Live’ to see what the future hold for them in the wake of mega dams.