Chardham highway project
The Chardham highway project which aims to provide a road link to the four holy places in Uttarakhand via a 900-km all-weather road has been granted clearance by a bench of the Supreme Court.
What has happened?
- A Bench of Supreme Court Justices has modified the initial National Green Tribunal (NGT) order on the Chardham Highway Project.
- The bench has asked the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) to constitute a new high-powered committee (HPC) by August 22 which will address the primary environmental concerns.
- NGT had delivered the order on the Chardham Highway project in September last year, in which it had granted conditional approval for the project and had appointed a former Uttarakhand High Court Judge to monitor the project.
What will the HPC do?
- As per the directives of the Supreme Court, the HPC will be responsible to assess the environmental degradation due to the Highway project.
- This means the loss of forest lands, cutting down of trees, anticipated loss of green cover, the effect on water resources, etc.
- It will also assess the impact of the project on wildlife and will direct mitigation measures, if necessary.
- The HPC will be made responsible for identifying the areas where the debris from the project will be disposed of and will also suggest areas where compensatory afforestation will take place.
- The HPC will have to submit its recommendations within four months.
Composition of the HPC
The Supreme Court has included representatives from Physical Research Laboratory (Department of Space), Wildlife Institute of India (Dehradun), MoEF (from Dehradun regional office) and the Defence Ministry to the committee.
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