New Delhi: Protests have erupted in the hilly regions of Uttarakhand against the upcoming delimitation scheduled for 2026. The people of the state's hilly areas believe that if this delimitation is based on population, it will lead to several hilly seats being shifted to the plains. This, they argue, will reduce the representation of the hill regions in the state legislature and make the path to development even more challenging.
The residents of the hilly areas insist that the delimitation criteria should be based on geography rather than population, as there has been a significant exodus from the hills in recent years. This has led to a decrease in the population of hilly regions while the plains have seen an increase in population.
Kishor Pant from Almora emphasizes that if the delimitation is based on population this time, it will result in a reduction of seats for hilly areas. This would weaken the representation of hill people in the state legislature, and the prospects for hill development would become more difficult.
Balam Singh from Ranikhet states that the agitation for making Uttarakhand a hilly state was initiated, but the then-government intentionally included several plains areas of Uttar Pradesh in Uttarakhand. This has led to the weakening of the voice of the hilly regions, and the hills are being exploited for personal gain and resource depletion.
Pant asserts that if the next delimitation is also based on population, it will lead to the destruction of the hills in Uttarakhand. Currently, Uttarakhand's resources are being exploited, and land mafias from other areas are encroaching upon hill lands.
The Uttarakhand government should seriously consider the concerns raised by the people regarding the 2026 delimitation. If the delimitation is based on population, it will indeed pose challenges for the development of the hill regions.
Image Sources -Map of India