On the 8th of November 2000, Uttaranchal became a full-fledged state of India with the formal induction of a separate State Government. Uttaranchal comprises 13 districts that were carved out of the hilly terrains of Uttar Pradesh. They are Pithoragarh, Almora, Nainital, Bageshwar, Champawat, Uttarkashi, Udham Singh Nagar, Chamoli, Dehradun, Pauri Garhwal, Tehri Garhwal, Rudraprayag and Haridwar (Urban). It occupies 17.3% of India’s total land area with 51,125 sq. km. It has a popula tion of about 6.0 million at 94.4 per sq. km. It borders Tibet, Nepal, Himachal Pradesh, and the Uttar Pradesh plains dis ricts. Dehradun, the state’s capital, is about 255 km away from India’s capital, New Delhi.

The people are happy with this achievement but there exists too much uncertainty about the future. The larger political questions like Gairsain (Chandranagar state) as the permanent capital of the new province and the devolution of power to the people to ensure equity based participatory local self-governments still remain unsolved. Throughout the struggle for a separate state, among the various demands put forward, locating the capital in Gairsain was one of the most vigorously demanded. Several studies regarding the formation of the separate state had also looked into this matter. However, due to several logistics, when the state was formed, the capital chosen was Dehradun inspite of Gairsain being the overwhelming people’s choice. As stated by the political leaders, the people’s wishes will be respected and Dehradun shall remain the interim capital of Uttaranchal while the matter of Gairsain will be looked into. If it is found feasible and economically viable then Gairsain shall become the capital. Till then Dehradun shall be the capital while the more important task of making the state self-sufficient is fulfilled.

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