Opposition Congress in Uttarakhand today staged a dharna here against what it termed as “arbitray extension” of the limits of civic bodies by the state government, stating that it was weakening the panchayati raj institutions. Addressing the party workers, Pradesh Congess president Pritam Singh said the BJP-led Uttarakhand government had arbitrarily brought rural areas under their ambit without taking locals and panchayat representatives into confidence. “The state government is out to demolish the entity of panchayati raj institutions. The arbitray manner in which the state government has extended the limits of civic bodies, including eight municipal corporations, proves it,” he said. The Congress leader alleged that the move was part of a conspiracy to cheaply dispose of valuable agricultural land in rural areas.
The state government had recently extended the limits of a number of civic bodies, including the municipal corporations of Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Roorkee, Rudrapur, Kashipur, Haldwani and Kotdwar, bringing many rural areas under their ambit.
The PCC president said the step has been taken under the pretext of increasing basic facilities in rural areas, but past experience indicates nothing of the sort was going to happen. “Rural areas which were brought under the ambit of municipal corporations in the past are still devoid of basic amenities,” he asserted.