February 23, 2020
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'No Delay' Progress

'No Delay' Progress
When one has a foot in two places, I suppose one inevitably ends up making comparisons between them or looking forward to being in whichever one is not. In my case, the places are Delhi and Dehra Dun, or the other way round, depending on the season and/or occupational compulsions. Of course, nobody in their right mind would opt for a sweltering Delhi barsaati when they could be ensconced in an airy abode in the northern Doon Valley. And come summer or winter, our local sal forest is beyond compare to the vastly overcrowded Lodhi Gardens. In the forest, rarely does one encounter another soul, the atmosphere is open and light, the pathways wide and welcoming. Having said this, it's also true that the area has deteriorated since we bought our house here five years ago. At that time we were essentially a village, with here and there the odd burra sahib's kothi. Now, hardly a month goes by without the completion of some monster modelled on new rich Delhi tastes.

"It's the price of progress," trots out the PR man for the Uttaranchal State Industrial Development Corporation. He will be my escort for a whirlwind tour of some of the fledgling state's up-and-coming enterprises. It all began at a meeting with the polished and amiable industry secretary Sanjeev Chopra. An ex-scribe, Sanjeev has recently published Ten Thousand Crores: A Personal Memoir of Uttaranchal's Industrialisation . Having failed to attend the release, I am sent a copy. The contents look promising. But I'm keen to see for myself whether the state is really on the march and whether its octogenarian CM deserves to be known as 'No delay Tiwari'.

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