Committee on Chardham Project
The Supreme Court named AK Sikri, as chairperson of the High-Powered Committee (HPC), which will assess the Chardham project’s cumulative and independent impact on the entire Himalayan valley.
- In 2019, Professor Ravi Chopra was appointed as chairperson of the HPC by the Supreme Court.
- Professor Ravi Chopra’s resignation as chairperson of the committee was accepted by a panel of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant after he filed a letter in January requesting to quit.
- Following the resignation of Professor Chopra, AK Sikri was appointed as the chairperson as the court had previously appointed him as chairperson of the Chardham project’s oversight committee to address environmental complaints and other matters.
- The Supreme Court, on 14th December 2021, had allowed the widening of the double lane of the strategic Chardham highway project in Uttarakhand.
About Chardham Pariyojana
The objective of the Chardham Pariyojana is to improve connectivity to the Chardham pilgrimage centres in the Himalayas i.e. Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri, and Gangotri, making journeys to these centres faster, safer, and more convenient. 900 kilometers of highways, including the Tanakpur-Pithoragarh stretch of National Highway (NH) 125, which is part of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra route will be widened under this project.
Uttarakhand State Public Works Department (PWD), the National Highway & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), and the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) are the implementing agencies of this project.
The project might destroy 55000 trees and 690 hectares of forest, as well as 20 million cubic meters of soil. The harvesting or removal of vegetation for road widening can be hazardous to the regional ecology and the biodiversity.