Uttarakhand CM lists why Char Dham road widening is important: It’s strategic
Supreme Court had directed that the width of the Char Dham road project be kept to 5.5 metres as per the 2018 circular of ministry of road transport and highways.Updated: Sep 18, 2020, 13:40 IST
Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Friday said that 5.5 metre width of the Char Dham road project won’t work from a strategic and security point of view in the sensitive bordering areas of the state.
Rawat, while addressing a query about the Char Dham road project during a press conference in Dehradun on the completion of three and a half years of his government, said “5.5 metre road width se kaam nahi chalega. (5.5 m road width won’t work).
Stressing upon the need to have a wider road in the strategically important border areas, Rawat said he will urge the Central government to look into this matter.
“When we take border security aspect into consideration, widening of the Char Dham road is required,” he said.
The all-weather road project aims to connect the four shrines of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri through an 826km long road.
Darshan Singh Rawat, media coordinator for CM Rawat, said the chief minister will be soon writing to the Centre on the necessity for a wider Char Dham road from a strategic point of view and for improving connectivity in areas bordering China in the state.
The official, however, added that the state government can’t file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court on the matter since the Central government and the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) are directly dealing with the matter.
On September 8, 2020, the Supreme Court had ordered that the ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) circular of 2018 is to be followed for Char Dham road construction. The MoRTH circular says that the roads in the hilly and mountain terrains are to be of 5.5 m width (18 ft) with two-lane structures (23 ft).
The apex court had upheld the views of Ravi Chopra, chairman of the Supreme Court (SC) appointed high powered committee (HPC) on Char Dham road project which recommended 5.5 m intermediate road width against the view in support of 12 m total road width-- submitted by the majority group of the HPC-- in tune with the 2012 circular of the MoRTH.
In August last year, the Supreme Court had ordered the formation of an 11-member high-powered committee to “consider the cumulative and independent impact of the Char Dham project on the entire Himalayan valleys…”
The foundation stone for the Char Dham project was laid on December 27, 2016. In March 2018, the deadline for the project was extended from March 2019 to March 2020, but work is still continuing in the state. A review meeting with the union road and transport minister was held on July 17 this year on the progress of the road project costing Rs 12,072 crore.
It was then informed that over 350 km of the road network has been constructed so far as part of the project.