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Chardham project road widening: Supreme Court upholds govt plan (Read verdict)

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The Supreme Court has on Tuesday approved the Chardham project where the Apex Court accepted the demand of the Centre to widen the roads being built for all-weather route by 10 metres. The Apex Court also formed an oversight committee for environmental concerns, which will be headed by Justice (retired) A.K. Sikri, a former judge of the Supreme Court.

The bench of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice Surya Kant, and Justice Vikram Nath has allowed the construction of the wider roads considering the demand of the Centre to amend the order dated September 8, 2020. In the order, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways was ordered to follow the rule of building a 10-metre corridor on the highway connected with the project which connects to the border with China.

Apart from this, the purpose of the Chardham project is to connect the holy sites of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath in Uttarakhand. When this project is completed, the pilgrimage of Char Dham can be done easily in every season.

The oversight committee formulated will be headed by former Supreme Court Justice Sikri and will decide the measures keeping in view the interest of the environment. The committee is to report to the Supreme Court every four months.

The Supreme Court said that in recent times serious challenges have emerged to the security at the borders. This court cannot second guess the infrastructural requirements of the armed forces.

The bench while considering the serious challenges posed to the national security in the recent past times said that easy movement of troops and equipment is required to meet the border security needs for the same purpose.

The court also considered what the Ministry of Defence had said on this matter that with the construction of this road, the Indian Army will get much easier access to the border with tanks and weapons and will also increase the connectivity in the mountainous areas.

Also Read: Tree felling for Dehradun-Delhi NH72A: NGT says no application of mind in granting forest clearance

Under this project, a 900-km long road is to be constructed of which 400 km road has been widened so far. It is being speculated that about 25,000 trees have been felled during the widening of this road and has environmentalists up in arms against this project as it will further deforest the hills.

The NGO Citizens for Green Doon had challenged the order of 26 September 2018 of the NGT. The NGO has claimed that the damage caused to the ecology of the area due to this project will not be compensated. On the same matter, the NGT approved the project considering it as a matter of larger public interest.

Also Read:

NGT Southern Bench restrains Auroville Foundation from cutting trees for road project

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