GAIRSAIN: Jubilation reigned in the quaint and small hilly town of Gairsain on Thursday- some 250 km away from Dehradun and situated 5410 feet over sea level- following its declaration as the permanent summer capital of Uttarakhand yesterday.
People congregated on the streets in hordes and declared Holi-greeting each other with gulal and abeer, making for a colourful change over to the town’s history.
Huge crowds gathered, felicitating Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat with garlands and Holi colours, even as celebrations spread into the interiors, particularly in adjoining Bharadisain, which will on the peripheries of a town, which is bound to grow.
Twenty years after Uttarakhand was granted statehood, CM Rawat on Wednesday had announced making Gairsain the capital of Uttarakhand in the state assembly in an attempt to put a lid on a political and emotive issue which had been simmering for long.
The announcement partially fulfils a long-standing demand of the hill people who wanted Gairsain to be made the permanent capital of Uttarakhand.
Social media groups were flooded with congratulatory notes even as Speaker Prem Chandra Aggrawal, Pradesh BJP president Bansidhar Bhagat and Urban Development Minister Madan Kaushik were virtually mobbed and besieged by happy crowds everywhere.
“The decision would renew the focus on underdeveloped hill areas, which have been crying out for infrastructure and basic facilities since long. The development of hill areas were the main objectives behind the struggle for statehood to Uttarakhand,” Rawat said, adding, “The’ government is committed to work in accordance with aspirations of the people.”
BJP supporters held celebrations throughout the state with crackers, heralding Gairsain with the distribution of sweets. At Balbir Road of Dehradun, senior BJP leaders gathered with Pradesh party vice president Devendra Bhasin.
“The chief minister will be accorded a grand reception by party workers when he returns from Gairsain,” Bhasin said.
Pradesh BJP president Bansidhar Bhagat said, “The announcement fulfils a promise made by the party during the 2017 assembly polls,” he said.
The town was recommended as one of the several options for a summer capital by Dikshit Commission
The commission had favoured Kashipur in Udham Singh Nagar district as second best after Dehradun
The report was submitted after ten extensions since 2001. The final report was tendered in 2008.
The population of the town stood at 7138 in the 2011 census, which has grown to 12000 now
Gairsain, Uttarakhand’s summer capital, spans just 7.53 square kms.
The scenic town of Chamoli district known for its pristine Oak forests stands at the intersection for Badrinath Dham
The town is connected by NH 109 with access to Haldwani, Ramnagar, Ranikhet, Dwarahat and Karnprayag
The town does not have an airport or railway, though an airstrip was announced in 2012 by then CM Vijay Bahuguna in year 2012
The town, however, is located in seismic zone V making it sensitive to increasing threat from urbanisation