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Home > Environment, Health and Social Justice > India: Char Dham Pariyojana - A High Risk Engineering Exercise | Mallika (...)

India: Char Dham Pariyojana - A High Risk Engineering Exercise | Mallika Bhanot (India Forum Sept 26, 2020)

22 October 2020

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by Mallika Bhanot (in: The India Forum)

The prestigious Char Dham Pariyojana to widen roads to Uttarakhand’s pilgrimage sites is being rapidly pushed forward without heed to the environmental and social consequences. Several laws have been bypassed in the process.

On 8 September, the Supreme Court of India struck a blow for the protection of Uttarakhand’s Himalayan terrain when it rejected an environmentally disastrous design for the Indian government’s prestigious Char Dham Pariyojana.

The Rs 12,000 crore Char Dham Pariyojana aims to “improve the connectivity to the Chardham pilgrimage centres in the Himalayas, making journey to these centres safer, faster and more convenient.” It will widen almost 890 km of highways connecting the pilgrimage sites of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri; and the Tanakpur-Pithoragarh stretch of National Highway (NH) 125, a part of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra route. On a fast track schedule to be completed by December 2021, it has evaded mandatory environmental scrutiny, despite proposing to destroy about 690 hectares of forests with 55,000 trees and to evacuate an estimated 20 million cubic metres of soil.