DEHRADUN: With the highest percentage increase in the number of registered electors in the state of Uttarakhand amongst the five election-bound states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Manipur and Goa during the past 10 year period of 2012 to 2022 has sparked apprehensions related to demographic change.
The highest electorate gain has been in Uttarakhand with 30% during the 2012 to 2022 period. Electors in Punjab increased by 21% during the 2012 to 2022 period while Uttar Pradesh increased by 18-19% during the same period, 14% in Manipur and 13% in Goa.
Many in the state pointed out that this deserves greater scrutiny.
Anoop Nautiyal, whose Social Development for Communities Foundation conducted the study titled 'Decadal Electoral Growth and Demographic Changes
2012 - 2022' said," A large part of the increase in electors is due to massive influx or migration of people from other states in Uttarakhand. If this is true and people are moving in large numbers in Uttarakhand, then this calls for a thorough and in-depth assessment from the state government and all its concerned agencies."
The vast majority of this influx is in the plain districts of Udham Singh Nagar, Dehradun, Nainital and Haridwar which needs to be checked and verified if it is far easier to make Voter ID cards, Adhar Cards in Uttarakhand compared to other states, added Nautiyal.
Urban Local Body (ULB) elections for Councilors are due in the next one and a half years in the state.
There are 420 Councilors in the eight Nagar Nigams viz. Dehradun, Haridwar, Roorkee, Rishikesh, Kotdwar, Haldwani, Kashipur and Rudrapur. The largest voter increase during the past decade has been in the above cities and their districts.
The study points out that there is a strong likelihood that prospective councillor candidates may try to get new, additional voters in their wards from other regions.
"Strong checks and balances are needed to prevent any further, mass-scale settlement of people into Uttarakhand for political, social, religious, security or any other pre-planned purposes," stated the study.
Based on 82.66 lakh electors in the 18+ age group and another 6.28 lakh beneficiaries in the 15-18 age group based on target vaccination number the current population of Uttarakhand would be in excess of 1.35 Crores.
If these estimated numbers are correct, the population of Uttarakhand would have increased by 35% over the past 10 years from the last census in 2011.
"It is crucial for the state to know its accurate population. These numbers are critical for policy formulation, governance and all aspects that relate to the delivery of public services to the people of the state," the study states.
In September last year, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami justified the state government's steps to take action to check the 'Demographic Changes' causing 'migration by some communities from those areas' said that the steps are to safeguard people of the state.
He had also added that the government must have records of those arriving from outside of the state without any paperwork.
In September 2021, Uttarakhand state government citing too much increase in population in certain areas of the state which is causing 'Demographic Changes' resulting into 'Migration of some communities from those areas', issued directions to take steps to find the 'solutuion of the problem'.
Release from the state government stated, "It has come to the notice of the government that in certain areas of the state due to too much increase in population demographic changes have occurred resulting in 'migration by some communities from those areas'. No only this, there is also an apprehension of disturbance in communal harmony."
However, the release does not name any community.