Uttarakhand to form all-encompassing body to streamline development works in Chardham | dehradun | Hindustan Times
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Uttarakhand to form all-encompassing body to streamline development works in Chardham

The proposed Chardham Development Authority will be an umbrella organisation of all the existing religious and non-religious agencies functioning in the areas.

dehradun Updated: Jul 24, 2017 20:11 IST
Prithviraj Singh
Devotees  at Badrinath shrine, which is part of Uttarakhand ‘s four famed Hindu pilgrimage sites collectively called the Chardham.
Devotees at Badrinath shrine, which is part of Uttarakhand ‘s four famed Hindu pilgrimage sites collectively called the Chardham. (HT File Photo )

Uttarakhand government is setting up an all-encompassing body to oversee the development works in the state’s famed four Hindu pilgrimage sites of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, which are plagued by haphazard growth.

The proposed Chardham Development Authority (CDA) will be an umbrella organisation of all the existing religious and non-religious agencies such as Badri Kedar Temple Committee (BKTC) functioning in the areas, said tourism department sources.

These holy sites draw lakhs of people from India, Nepal and other parts of the world every year.

Haphazard development, encroachments have taken place in the entire Chardham circuit causing immense harm to the areas’ fragile Himalayan ecology.

The CDA is expected to streamline the development process.

Once the CDA takes over, even the district authorities of Uttarkashi, Chamoli and Rudraprayag where the four shrines are located will have no say on the development activities in the areas, the sources added.

The CDA will, however, have no jurisdiction over the religious matters.

After the formation of the CDA, which will have the mandate to oversee developmental works in eco sensitive areas coming under its ambit, there will also be no need for the setting up of the cabinet-ratified Kedarnath Development Authority, said an official of the tourism department.

The state’s BJP government is preparing the draft proposal for the formation of the body and the interdepartmental consultation process will soon be started to finalise the structure and hierarchy of the authority.

“Works for the formation of the CDA have started after the state cabinet gave ho ahead in its recent meeting. However, final structure and shape of the authority will be decided only after consultations with, chief secretary, urban development department, housing board, PWD, disaster management and other related departments,” said state tourism secretary Meenakshi Sundaram.

She said the CDA will also be the main coordinating agency for the implementation of various central government projects including that of development and maintenance of roads undertaken by the Boarder Road Organisation and the National Highways Authority.

Apart from an all weather road, the NDA government has also envisaged a rail link project to link the four Hindu shrines. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu recently laid the foundation stone in Badrinath for the final location survey of the ambitious ₹43,000-crore project that will enable devotees to visit the shrines even in adverse climatic conditions.

Meanwhile, the opposition Congress asked the government to hold wider consultations with all stake holders before forming the development authority.

“State government must ensure that overlapping of works between CDA and BKTC doesn’t happen in case of Badrinath and Kedarnath shrines. We also want the government to seek public opinions and views of local representatives,” said state Congress president Pritam Singh.