The over ambitious project of all weather roads worth Rs 12000 crores, the work on which had already started on a full swing in different zones of Garhwal Uttarakhand has come under halt, after the environmental regulatory judicial body, ” the National Green Tribunal has applied brakes by stopping the entire work till the next hearing. The tribunal has directed the National Highway Authority of India and other concerned agencies involved in the project to place their view point before the tribunal in the next hearing.
The work on the all weather road project is currently on full swing at Kedarnath, Badrinath, Chamoli, Rudraprayag and Rishikesh range as the prime minister Narendra Modi has assured the people of the state last year in December to complete the project before 2019.
An environment friendly NGO of Dehradun called CITIZENS OF DOON had filed a writ petition in NGT complaining about the large scale felling of fully grown green trees to the tune of 33000 numbers, during the completion of this over ambitious project.
The 4 judge bench of the green tribunal led by Justice Jawaad Rahim had issued directions to halt the entire work till the next hearing, directing the NHAI and other concerned agencies to put forward its explanation in support of their contention to go ahead with the work not causing any harm to the environment.
It may be recalled that prior to the state election the prime minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the over ambitious All Weather Road Project with much fanfare in the state capital Dehradun, assuring the people of the state and the country to ease the movement of tourists and pilgrims to the four historic religious shrines Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamnotri and Gangotri by speedily implementing this project.
The total project cost being funded by the union government would come to staggering 11700 crores and comprise of 5 huge bridges/flyovers, 101 bypass roads, 101 medium size bridges and 5500 small bridges. The completion period of this massive project has been datelined for 2019 before the general elections.
But the worst part of this project is felling of more than 33000 trees which may endanger the ecology of the Himalayan state to a great extent. The various NGOs and environmental bodies have raised strong objection over this project terming it as highly damaging to the already fragile and damaging ecology and environment of Himalayas.
As per the break up while 19000 trees will be felled in the Tehri Garhwal’s Narendra Nagar range while over 4889 trees would be cut within the periphery of 45 kilometres range in Badrinath jungle area with over 6990 trees to fall in the jungles of Kedarnath stretch where the work of clearence and road construction’s initial phase is in full swing.
The BJP is in a hurry to derive maximum political mileage in 2019’s general election out of this unique and outstanding project and as such wanted to complete it by all means irrespective of any amount of environmental implications say its political opponents.
SUNIL NEGI, PRESIDENT, UTTARAKHAND JOURNALISTS FORUM