Widening 900-km Char Dham road a Himalayan blunder

Two expert members in the Supreme Court-appointed committee on Char Dham road project – to connect the Char Dham shrines in Garhwal Himalayas with an “all-weather” road --have flagged serious issues over the widening of this 900-km road to 10 meters uniformly and termed it as “a Himalayan blunder”.

This “minority view” has been incorporated in the “main report” that the panel chairman environmentalist Ravi Chopra has submitted to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

In their note, the two members – Hemant Dhyani and Navin Juyal – have raised concern over the road transport and highways ministry’s decision to divide the entire stretch to 53 smaller projects to avoid conducting environment impact assessment study despite the hills being contiguous. Each divided stretch is less than 100 km. The MoEFCC norms make it mandatory for a linear project of more than 100 km to go for EIA study.

Dhyani and Juyal are among five members who have objected to widening of the road to 10 meters while the majority (21) have favoured widening of the corridor to 10 meters. The majority group has also submitted its “final report” to the MoEFCC, recommending several damage mitigation measures. Sources said with the deep differences may end up the matter going back to Supreme Court.

No comments: