Ravi Chopra Committee: SC Orders violated in Chardham Project
The Supreme Court appointed Ravi Chopra Committee has alleged that the Chardham road project has violated court order.
What is the issue?
The Supreme Court had ruled that width of roads constructed under Chardham project shall be 5.5 metres. This was ruled based on the recommendation of Ministry of Road Transport and Highway (MoRTH) for mountain roads.
To the contrary, the GoI had sanctioned road width of 10-12 metres. The MoRTH has allowed the 700 km road project to continue with 10-metre width. This according to the Committee is a contravention of the SC.
The project aims to provide connectivity to the four Hindu pilgrimages such as Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 12,000 crores. The National Highway and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited, Uttarakhand State Public Works, Border Road Organization.
The project is being implemented under EPC mode. EPC mode is Engineering, Procurement and Construction Mode. Under this mode, the cost is completely borne by the Government.
About the Pilgrimage sites
Gangotri is dedicated to Goddess Ganga and Yamunotri to Goddess Yamuna. The Kedarnath is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Badrinath temple to Lord Vishnu.
Ravi Chopra Committee
A petition was filed with National Green Tribunal. The Petition said that the project violated the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006. On the other hand, according to MoRTH, the length of the highways are less than 100 km and hence do not require environmental clearance. The project has been segregated into 57 parts and each part is less than 100 km. Thus, NGT cleared the project.
However, the project stopped by the Supreme Court. The apex court also constituted Ravi Chopra Committee to assess the environmental violations if any. Ravi Chopra is the Director of Dehradun People’s Science Institute and has been strongly critical about the project and other construction works in the Himalayan region.
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