Glacier burst not linked with Char Dham road widening project: Govt to SC

Glacier burst not linked with Char Dham road widening project: Govt to SC

The high-powered committee was formed to assess environmental damages to the Char Dham road project, presently under construction.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday adjourned the hearing in the Char Dham road widening project in Uttarakhand by two weeks. The court has given time to allow Ministry of Defence to respond to allegations by the chairman of the high-powered committee linking the project to the recent disaster at Dhauliganga river.

"There is no link," Attorney General KK Venugopal said on behalf of the defence ministry. However, to put his stand on record, he sought two weeks to file a reply.

Ravi Chopra, the chairman of the committee, had written a letter addressed to the Supreme Court suggesting a link between the disaster and road widening project.

The bench of Justices RF Nariman, Hemant Gupta and BR Gavai adjourned the matter by two weeks to allow the Centre file it's reply.

The high-powered committee was formed to assess environmental damages to the Char Dham road project, presently under construction.

The strategic 900-km long project aims to provide all-weather connectivity to four important Hindu pilgrimage sites: Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath, in Uttarakhand.

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The Court was hearing a petition filed by NGO Citizens for Green Doon raising environmental concerns over road widening work.

On September 8, the apex court had upheld the recommendation of the minority members of the high-powered committee and asked the implementing agencies to reduce the width of the road to 5.5 metre for the whole project. The order was based on a March 2018 circular released by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways laying down guidelines for road construction in hilly terrains in the country.

On December 2 last year, the top court had asked its high-powered committee to consider within two weeks the applications including that of the defence ministry seeking widening of roads up to 7 metres in the Indo-China Border area.

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