Focus: GS-II Governance
Why in news?
- The Supreme Court ordered the Centre to adhere to a Union Road Ministry circular which had advised against building full-fledged roads cutting across the fragile Himalayan slopes, while implementing the Char Dham project for better connectivity to pilgrimage centres in Uttarakhand.
- The project had proposed the widening of single lane roads into double lanes by up to 10 metres, developing the highways and thereby improving access to the Char Dham (four shrines).
Why was the direction given?
- Environmentalist groups had moved the apex court after they failed in the National Green Tribunal contending that the project was proceeding without environmental clearances and the debris was being disposed haphazardly.
- The petitioners had informed the apex court about the extensive excavation of the eco-sensitive landscape for the project.
- They had contended that the project, which extends across nearly 900 km of hilly roads, was an environmental threat.
- Earlier, the NGT had found no need for an environmental clearance.
Char Dham Project
- Char Dham Expressway National Highway is a proposed two-lane (in each direction) express National Highway in the state of Uttarakhand.
- Under the prestigious ‘Char Dham’ road project, BRO is constructing 250 km of national highway leading to the holy Hindu shrines of Gangotri and Badrinath.
The proposed highway will complement the under-development Char Dham Railway by connecting the four holy places in Uttarakhand which are:
- The roads will be widened from 12m to 24m and the project will involve construction of tunnels, bypasses, bridges, subways and viaducts.
- 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, is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
-Source: The Hindu