“Corruption Will Not Be Tolerated” —Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’
Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, is a well-established poet. He has also enjoyed being a journalist. He has used his diversified qualities to give the state a new vision and direction. His vision 2020 comprises of five points—Prosperity, education, health, culture and environment. His five-point vision is defined in a single phrase, i.e. Vikas ki Anupam Pahal—unique initiative for development. He discussed several issues in a exclusive interview to Uday India. Excerpts:
What are the main achievements of your government under your tenure?
There are a lot of achievements. But the most important one is in the health sector where we have succeeded in establishing the helpline number 108. It has set an example not only in our country but also in the world. This service has saved the life of more than 1.6 lakh mothers and infants during a short period of two years. It may also create a world record that during these two years more than two thousand children have born in mobile ambulances. It means that their life was so much in danger that if the service of 108 had not been there to help, they would not have been able to go to hospital. Along with 108 we are also running the mobile hospitals. We are also providing the MBBS degree at a nominal fee of 15 thousand rupees only. Similarly in education sector, we have made it available to the people free of cost. We have developed several hubs for education. To solve the food crisis we are providing our people rice and wheat at the cost of two rupees per kg only under PDS. Uttarakhand has been declared the number one in protecting environment. We are making endeavours to strengthen our 12 thousand Gram Panchayats. We are also promoting the tourism sector. We have made the tour of Char Dhas more convenient by connecting it to air services. Kumbh was also one of our achievements.
Uttarakhand is hosting South Asian Winter Games. Do you think it will help the development process of the state?
See, it is the first time we are hosting such a big event. We had already organised Kumbh successfully. I think the South Asian Winter Games will attract the focus of the world and the state will be benefited.
Corruption is the most burning issue of the present-day politics. How do you see it and what measures are you taking to curb it in your state?
We have made it clear from the day one that corruption will not be tolerated at any level. We have terminated more than 400 corrupt officers. Eight-ten officers were sent to jail and a vigilance inquiry is going on in three dozen cases. We are very much clear on this issue.
There will be elections in 2012 in the state. Are you prepared for that? What strategy are you planning?
We will be back in power again with full majority. We have worked honestly. In terms of development our three years are more productive than the five-year rule of Congress. We can prove it with facts and figures. See, what people expect from state? They want education for their children, they want health services, they want employment, and they want development. We have done work on all these fronts. We have fulfilled their all expectations.
Apart from being a politician you are also a literary person who is supposed to be sensitive. It is believed that today’s politics has become too much insensitive towards the general mass. In such a situation how much comfortable do you feel yourself in politics?
I am completely comfortable. Politics is basically not a separate identity; it is a kind of system. So, it is important to note as to who is running the system. If sensitive people will join the politics, it will become more sensitive and if insensitive people come, then the politics will also become insensitive.
By Ravi Shankar