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SC allows widening of Char Dham roads amid security concerns

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Apex Court forms oversight committee to ensure implementation of environment-related recommendations

New Delhi: The Char Dham project will have wider roads. The Supreme Court has accepted the Ministry of Defence’s argument of need for these roads to be wider in view of security concerns. It has now allowed the Centre to construct three double-lane highways for the Char Dham project in Uttarakhand.

The Armed forces’ requirement for infrastructure must be met to protect borders, the court observed, pointing out that highways of strategic importance could not be treated like others in hilly terrains.

The court’s order comes amid “serious challenges to national security” in the recent past.

 

 

Oversight committee formed to ensure implementation of recommendations

Taking into account the environment concerns raised by the petitioner, the Supreme Court formed an oversight committee headed by ex-Supreme Court judge AK Sikri to ensure implementation of recommendations by a high-powered committee related to environment protection with relation to the three strategic roads.

The committee will have representatives from the Ministry of Environment and National Environmental Research Institute.

The project will connect Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. However, it will require cutting of several trees for road widening.

An NGO, Citizens for Green Doon, had objected to the Char Dham project citing destruction to the Himalayan ecosystem.

The government responded saying that these were “feeder” roads to Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China. Hence, Army would need wider roads for large vehicles for transportation of objects like missile launchers.

 

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