Uttarakhand government dithering as Tulips fail to bloom in Pithoragarh
Pithoragarh, Jan 3
In a recent written examination for the Class three posts of Village Development Officers (VDOs) conducted by Uttarakhand State Subordinate Services Commission, a question regarding in which district of Uttarakhand, a Tulip garden is being developed was asked. The four optional answers of the question were Tehri Garhwal, Pithoragarh, Almora and Uttarkashi districts.
Interestingly, the Tulip garden being planned in Pithoragarh is non-existent. The plan to develop India’s biggest tulip garden in Pithoragarh district died a premature death. The Uttarakhand forest department which was supposed to develop the garden has developed cold feet terming it as non-forestry work. The idea and plan of developing a Tulip garden on the lines of Kashmir was the brain child of former Uttarakhand Finance Minister and senior BJP leader Parkash Pant and died after his death in 2019. He was a legislator from Pithoragarh city.
The Tulip garden, was to come up under “13 districts, 13 destinations” programme of the state government under the Chief Minister of former Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, at 50 hectares of land in Mad Kharayat village of Pithoragarh district.
“The then Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, had given nod to the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), to develop it under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programe, at an estimated cost of Rs 50 crore,” said Bhupesh Pant, a senior BJP leader in Pithoragarh.
After the idea was sanctioned by state government in the year 2019, an experiment to see, if the Tulip flower blooms at a height of 1950 meters at Chandak hill and at same heights in Munsiyari, gets success or not, was carried and a sum of Rs 25 lakh was spent on that experiment which was a success.
” Following the transfer of then District Forest Officer (DFO),who was interested in the project, the new officer showed his complete disinterest probably at the behest of his seniors claiming it to be non- forestry work and stating that the department cannot give its time to it,” said Bhupesh pant.
The basic idea behind developing Tulip gardens at Mad Kharayat region and also at Munsiyari, was to attract tourists to these places.” Had the idea materialised, the district headquarter would have attracted large number of tourists in the months of February and March, as there is no tulip garden nearby except in Kashmir,” claimed Bhupesh Pant
Pithoragarh District Forest officer (DFO) Jeewan Mohan Dagare said that his office has sent a letter to higher officers to return Rs 70 lakh amount that has been sanctioned by the state government to develop a large Tupul garden in Pithoragarh. “The department will do whatever orders it received from higher ups ,”said the DFO.
“The present state government seems to be in a fix on the issue as the idea has not yet been abandoned and neither a go ahead given by the present ruling dispensation,” said Bhupesh pant, a younger brother of late Prakash Pant.
” It seems that the lack of factual knowledge with those who set the question paper, that they have asked question on an asset that has no existence on the ground,” said Deepak Kapri, a candidate, who appeared in the VDO examination in Pithoragarh.