A new scheme to revive over 700 ‘ghost villages’ of Uttarakhand, rendered uninhabited, owing to migration and lack of facilities, will be launched by the Uttarakhand government soon. A decision in this regard was announced by chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on the occasion of Independence Day on Wednesday.
“We are planning to acquire land in all those villages, so that entrepreneurs can utilise the land for horticulture, growing medicinal plants or for tourism related activities,” said Rawat after unfurling the national flag.
Expressing concern over the dwindling number of students in schools, from 11 lakh to 4.5 lakh, in the last three years, Rawat said that his government would come up with a white paper soon. He also warned teachers from going on frequent strikes.
“In schools the focus is on teachers rather than students. We shall not let that happen in this state”, he said.
The chief minister said the government has plans to set up a separate Uttarakhand Diaspora Board for the development of the mountain state.
“We have a number of people, scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs, hailing from the state settled in different countries who can who can make a significant contribution to the economy,” he said.
According to him, the government would expedite the rehabilitation of some 350 villages falling in disaster prone areas. “A separate fund has now been created (for this purpose). People living in these villages will be relocated to safe and secure areas in the next 8 to 10 years”, he said.
Rawat said the government would open 550 farm machinery banks in rural areas by 2019, so that farmers could avail the latest farm equipment. Elaborating on healthcare benefits, Rawat said that every family would be entitled to free medical treatment up to Rs 5 lakh under the Bharat-Ayushman Uttarakhand yojna. In addition to this, the government is also focussing on road, rail and air connectivity.
Helicopter services from Pithoragrh, Chinyalisaur, Gauchar, Haldwani and Sahastradhara (Dehradun) would begin from October 4. Rawat also announced that the government would provide full financial help for marriages of daughters of Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and destitute widows.