PM Narendra Modi today lay the foundation stone for the Chardham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojna in Uttarakhand's Dehradun. The Chardham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojna, or the Chardham highway development project, is an ambitious initiative to improve connectivity to the Char Dham pilgrimage centres in the Himalayas. The project's main objective is to develop around 900 km of national highways. These highways will be built in Uttarakhand at an approximate cost of Rs 12,000 crore. Ahead of his visit, PM Modi tweeted, "Will visit Devbhoomi Uttarakhand today for the inauguration of a key infrastructure project, the Char Dham highway development programme. Char Dham highway project will lead to creation of over 900 km of roads. Connectivity & tourism will get a strong boost through the project." "Adding of bypasses, tunnels, bridges & flyovers will ease travel. Proper slope stabilisation will ensure protection against landslides," he said. Watch: Details of the Chardham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojna As stated by PM Modi, the project will make travel to the Char Dham (Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath) safer and more convenient. The project involves widening the existing, geometrically deficient highway that connects the four abodes. Apart from widening, the road transport and highways ministry plans to improve the stretches to two-lane carriageway with paved shoulders, protect landslide hazard zones, construct bypasses, long bridges, tunnels and elevated corridors to ensure safety for the users. A team of experts is already on the job to identify zones that are prone to landslides. Environment friendly techniques are being incorporated in the design to make these zones safer. The details of stretches proposed to be developed under \u201cChar Dham\u201d programme: The cost would include civil construction as well as land acquisition, forest clearance and utility shifting. Work on the project amounting to Rs 2,000 crore has already been started under the Char Dham programme, particularly on the stretches which are free from encumbrances. Road Transport and Highways minister expects the project to be completed by 2018. The highway network along Char Dham got severely devastated following the cloudburst in 2013. Assuming charge, the Modi-led dispensation decided to upgrade the national highways network in the upper Himalayan region. The roads leading to Gangotri and Badrinath are also equally important from a strategic point of view as these roads are used for supply and deployment to the defence establishments along the Indo-China border areas in Uttarakhand.