'Have to Take BrahMos to LAC, Need Wider Roads at Char Dham': Centre Tells SC
The central government told the Supreme Court that wider roads are required in the Char Dham region of Uttarakhand .
The central government on Thursday, 12 November, told the Supreme Court that wider roads are required in the Char Dham region of Uttarakhand in order to transport crucial military equipment to the mountainous territory, which is adjacent to the India-China border.
“The army has to take the BrahMos… a large area will be required. If it results in landslides, the army will tackle it. How do we go if the roads are not wide enough?” Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, argued in the court, The Indian Express reported.
The bench on Thursday was hearing a plea submitted by the NGO Citizens for Green Doon, that had challenged the stage-I forest and wildlife clearance granted for expansion and development of of feeder roads.
'China Building Helipads on the Other Side': Centre
The Union government, in an affidavit filed previously, had urged the court to accept the the high powered committee's recommendation for the road to be developed to two-lane with paved shoulders (10 metre wide carriageway), news agency PTI had reported.
"China is building helipads and buildings on the other side… so trucks carrying artillery, rocket launchers and tanks may have to pass through these roads," Venugopal was quoted as saying in the court on Thursday by NDTV.
The apex court had earlier ruled that roads cannot be wider than 5 metres in the precarious terrain, due to the risks of landslides.
The three-judge bench, headed by Justice DY Chandrachud, observed on Thursday that the needs of the environment and those of the defence "have to be balanced."
"We must tell you our predicament in this," he said. "If the Centre says they are doing it for tourism, then we understand and we can impose more stringent conditions. But when it is needed to defend the borders, then it is a serious predicament and court has to be more nuanced," the bench was quoted as saying by NDTV.
The hearing of the matter will continue in the court on Friday.
(With inputs from NDTV, The Indian Express, and PTI)
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