UP CM Yogi's Uttarakhand roots may help resolve both states' assets dispute

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath
The 17-year dispute over distribution of assets and liabilities between Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Uttarakhand, following the bifurcation in 2000 during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre, is finally seeing light of day.

The fresh hope for speedy and amenable settlement of the pending issues between the two neighbouring states has rekindled due to multiple reasons.

At present, both UP and Uttarakhand are being ruled by the same party viz. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with brute majority. Besides, the Centre is also led by the BJP.

Another major element likely to tilt scales in favour of an early settlement of disputes is the fact that UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also originally hails from Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, although he had renounced his family long back to become a seer and settle down in Gorakhpur, UP. Yogi’s original name is Ajay Singh Bisht.

On Monday, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat had called upon Yogi at the latter’s official residence at 5 Kalidas Marg in Lucknow and broached upon the pending issues between the two states, apart from discussing other issues of mutual interests.

Following this meeting, a series of official meetings would follow between the both CMs and their respective senior ministers and leaders to arrive at a consensus to iron out differences.

The assets to be distributed between the two states include residential/official premises, canals, guest houses, ponds, land etc spread across Uttarakhand and which UP continues to possess even after bifurcation.

The genesis of the dispute lies in the fact that the two states have not acted yet and divided assets and liabilities under the Reorganisation Act. Besides, over the last 16 years, the two states had always been ruled by different parties, which further acted as major impediment in any early resolution.

Speaking to a news channel, Rawat had said he was hopeful that all pending issues would get resolved within the next 5-6 months.

According to sources, the two states have agreed that most bilateral issues could be resolved at the chief secretary level. However, if irritants remain, the concerned ministers of the two states could confer for an early settlement. Any remaining issues would be taken up at the CMs level and involve the Centre as well for an acceptable bipartite formula.

One of the key issues to be settled include Uttarakhand seeking a share in the THDCL India (formerly known as Tehri Hydro Development Corporation Limited). The company is a joint venture of the Centre and UP government.

The hill state also wants ownership rights from UP with regards to several unmovable properties in Haridwar, apart from ponds, canals and water bodies, currently controlled by UP irrigation department.

Besides, there are unresolved issues regarding various other departments, including forest, housing, transport, cooperatives etc.

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