Uttarkhand Govt Lacks Will to Fight Corruption: Khanduri

Uttarkhand Govt Lacks Will to Fight Corruption: Khanduri

In a scathing attack on Congress government in Uttarakhand, former chief minister B C Khanduri today alleged that it was trying to make Lokayukta "toothless and ineffective" with the new legislation and lacked the will to fight corruption.

The amended Lokayukta bill drafted on the lines of the Lokpal bill passed by Parliament during UPA-II got the state cabinet's nod last evening.

BJP leader Khanduri, during whose tenure the first Lokyukta legislation bill was passed by the state assembly, questioned the intention of the Congress government in revoking the measure and then bringing a revised version.

"Revoking the Lokayukta bill passed unanimously by the state assembly during my tenure and replacing it with a new one had no justification in the first place. There was a day-long discussion in the state assembly on the draft of the bill during my time.

"The changes suggested by Congress MLAs were also incorporated into the final draft which was unanimously passed by the House with support from opposition Congress," Khanduri told reporters here.

"The President gave his ascent to the bill after nearly two years of legal consultations. Still, Bahuguna government felt the need to revoke it and replace it with a new one," he said.

The BJP MP from Pauri said his Lokayukta Act was modelled upon Anna Hazare's vision of Lokpal which kept the chief minister and the higher judiciary under the ambit of the anti corrupotion law.

Alleging that the amended Lokayukta bill which was approved by the state cabinet yesterday was a much "watered down" version of the legislation, he said it reflected the state government's lack of will to create an effective anti-corruption watchdog.

"The state government is afraid of constituting a Lokayukta because it is aware of the level of corruption prevailing in its ranks.

"Unnecessary amendements to the bill are just part of its plan to make the institution toothless and ineffective," he said.

However, Khanduri said those who want corruption to be eliminated from society did not have anything to fear as Narendra Modi government at the Centre is prepared to fight it at all levels. 

Khanduri claimed Uttarakhand had deviated from the goals set by those who fought for statehood.

"After 14 years of creation, it is being called 'Hartali Pradesh' due to the growing frequency of strikes by different sections of state government employees. It is unfortunate.

"Those who fought for statehood to Uttarakhand did not envision this," the former chief minister said.

He also accused Chief Minister Harish Rawat of making announcements for publicity though they were not practical.

'Char dham' yatra during winter is one of them, he said, adding, "he could not conduct yatra during summer properly and is now talking about yatra during winter."

"The condition of roads on char dham yatra route is still very bad. There is no road from Sonprayag to Gaurikund on way to Kedarnath. How will people go on yatra during winters.

"Moreover, the protest at Badrinath say it is also not in accordance with the centuries old religious traditions, " Khanduri said.

He claimed the state government's decision to conduct the yatra during winters was not just imparctical but also went against religious beliefs.

The former chief minister said, "When a Cabinet meeting was held in Kedarnath last month, the Chief Minister had to fly his entire cabinet in choppers to the Himalayan shrine due to lack of proper roads. How will he conduct yatra during winters? In choppers?".

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