The Char Dham project will connect Badrinath Dham, Kedarnath Dham, Gangotri, Yamunotri, and part of the route leading to Kailash Mansarovar yatra.
Chardham Highway project: Tourists visiting four pilgrim-destinations in Uttarakhand popularly known as ‘Char Dham’ will soon have the convenience of all-weather roads connecting these places. The Supreme Court has modified the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order and cleared the decks for construction of over 880-km all-weather roads under the Chardham highway project. However, the apex court has ordered to form a panel to study environmental concerns related to the project. A high-powered committee (HPC) is being constituted by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, according to a PTI report.
On September 26, 2018, the NGT gave its conditional nod to the Chardham highway project in view of larger public interest. It, however, stated the project would cause irreversible damage to regional ecology, the PTI report said. After that NGO Citizen for Green Doon filed a petitioned in the apex court. Subsequently, NGT had directed to constitute a panel headed by a former Uttarakhand High Court Judge to monitor the project.
The top court asked the HPC to submit its recommendations within four months. “The committee shall consider the cumulative and independent impact of the Chardham project on the entire Himalayan valleys and for that purpose, the HPC will give directions to conduct Environmental Impact Assessment by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH),” the Supreme Court said.
Chardham highway project: Details
Char Dham National Highway (NH) project comprises improvement as well as the development of 889 km length of national highways. The Char Dham project will connect Badrinath Dham, Kedarnath Dham, Gangotri, Yamunotri, and part of the route leading to Kailash Mansarovar yatra. The total cost of the project is estimated at Rs 11,700 crore. The project was earlier scheduled to be completed by March 2020, according to the details by the central government.
Seven stretches have been identified for development under the Char Dham highway project. On NH-58, 140 km stretch, including 594-metre long High level bridges at Kaliasaur, from Rishikesh to Rudraprayag will be developed. On NH-58, 160 km stretch between Rudraprayag and Mana village will be developed. This includes mitigation measures for chronic Lambagarh land slide zone.
On NH-94, 144-km stretch, including 430-metre long tunnel near Chamba, from Rishikesh to Dharasu will be developed. On NH-108, 124-km long stretch, including mitigation measures of 3 land slide zones, between Dharasu and Gangotri will be developed. On NH-94, 95-km long stretch, including 5-km long tunnel near Sylkyara bend, from Dharasu to Yamunotri will be developed. On NH-109, another 76-km long stretch, including 750-metre long viaduct near Sonprayag, from Rudraprayag to Gaurikund will be developed. On NH-125, 150-km long stretch will be dveloped. Three by-pass roads will also be constructed on this stretch.
What is Chardham Yatra?
Chardham Yatra in Uttarakhand is pilgrimage to four destinations – Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. All of these four sites are devoted to a specific deity. Gangotri is dedicated to the Goddess Ganga, Yamunotri is dedicated to the Goddess Yamuna, Kedarnath is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the 12 jyotirlingas, and Badrinath, which is also part of India’s Char Dham, is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.