Will Build ‘Strategically Important’ Char Dham Road: Nitin Gadkari

A new 210-km Delhi-Dehradun expressway worth Rs 13,000 crore has also been approved by the ministry, Gadkari said.

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India
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File photo of Nitin Gadkari.
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Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday, 11 February, that the Char Dham project in Uttarakhand is strategically important as it is linked to the China border, reported PTI.

Gadkari, while mentioning that his ministry approved a new 210-km Delhi-Dehradun expressway worth Rs 13,000 crore, also stressed that the government would ensure to protect the environment in the Himalayan eco-sensitive region and also build the road.

“It will also have 10 elevated roads and the distance between the two cities can be covered in a span of 3-3.15 hours,” the minister for road transport and highways was quoted as saying by PTI.

He further said that the work will be awarded by June.

In his written response to a question in the Lok Sabha, Gadkari said that the Char Dham, which is a 1200 crore project is an all-weather road connecting Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri and has 53 packages.

He further told PTI that thirteen packages are under process. Of the 13 packages, five packages pass through eco-sensitive zones, he added.

He also said that work on 169 kilometres, costing Rs 2,450 crore, had been completed.

Gadkari said the Supreme court also gave an order to reduce the road's width. "The project is important strategically as it goes to the China border," he was quoted as saying by PTI.

As the Char Dham project passes through an eco-sensitive zone, environmentalists have raised concerns about it.

Emphasising on the government’s commitment to ecology and environment, Gadkari said, "we will also protect environment in this eco-sensitive area and also build the road. But if the traffic is increasing, accidents are rising, (then) we have to increase the width of the road."

"If we have to uproot a tree, then it has to be to be transplanted," he was quoted as saying.

Hoping that the Supreme Court grants approval to the project, Gadkari said that if transplanting is not possible, then 10 trees should be planted for every one tree that was cut.

He further added that in about a years’ time, tourists will be able to visit the Char Dham project round the clock.

25 km of the Haridwar ring road costing around Rs 1,500, had also been approved, he said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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