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PM Modi Lays the Foundation Stone of Char Dham Highway Development Project

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Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the Char Dham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojna in Uttarakhand’s Dehradun on December 27, 2016. The Prime Minister also addressed a public rally at the city’s Parade Ground.

  • The Chardham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojna, or the Chardham Highway Development Project, is an ambitious initiative to improve connectivity to the Char Dham (Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath) pilgrimage centres in the Himalayas.
  • The total cost of the project is estimated to be Rs. 12000. The entire project is likely to be completed by 2018.

Aim of the Project

The main objective of the project is to improve connectivity to the Char Dham pilgrimage shrines by developing around 900 km of national highways.

About Char Dham

Char Dham Yatra is a pilgrimage to four religious sites of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, located in Uttarakhand.

  • The highway network along Char Dham was severely damaged following the disastrous PM Modi Lays the Foundation Stone of Char Dham Highway Development Projectfloods in Uttarakhand in 2013. This also caused a decrease in number of tourists ever since.
  • Indian Prime minister thus inaugurated Chardham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojana for connectivity improvement in these pilgrimages.

About the Project

Char Dham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojna or the Char Dham Highway Development Project was first announced by Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari in Jan 2015.

  • The project involves developing around 900 km of National Highways in Uttarakhand. Out of Rs. 12,000 total estimated fund, Rs. 3000 has already been sanctioned and tendered.
  • The project involves widening the existing, geometrically deficient highway which connects the four shrines.
  • Apart from widening, the road transport and highways ministry plans to improve the stretches to two-lane carriageway with paved shoulders, protect landslide hazard zones, construct bypasses, long bridges, tunnels and elevated corridors to ensure safety for the users.
  • 7 stretches in Uttarakhand that will be revamped through the project are:
  • Rishikesh-Rudraprayag (NH-58), Rudraprayag-Mana Village (NH-58), Rishikesh-Dharasu (NH-94), Dharasu-Yamunotri (NH-94), Dharasu-Gangotri (NH-108), Rudraprayag-Gaurikund (NH-109) and Tanakpur-Pithoragarh (NH-125).
  • Experts have been appointed to identify landslide-prone zones and necessary environment-friendly techniques are being incorporated to make these zones safer.
  • The project cost would also include civil construction as well as land acquisition, forest clearance and utility shifting.
  • Work on the project amounting to Rs 2,000 crore has already been started under the Char Dham programme, particularly on the stretches which are free from encumbrances.
  • The roads leading to Gangotri and Badrinath have a strategic importance as they are used for supply and deployment to the defence establishments situated along the Indo-China border areas in Uttarakhand.

Benefit of the Project

  1. Connectivity & tourism will get a strong boost.
  2. Travelling to Char Dham would become easy, convenient and safer with the addition of bypasses, tunnels, bridges & flyovers.
  3. Proper slope stabilisation will ensure protection against landslides.

About Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand, formerly known as Uttaranchal, is a state in the northern part of India. It is often referred to as the Devbhumi (Land of the Gods) due to many Hindu temples and pilgrimage centres found throughout the state.

  • Uttarakhand is known for its natural beauty of the Himalayas, the Bhabhar and the Terai.
  • On 9 November 2000, this 27th state of the Republic of India was created from the Himalayan and adjoining northwestern districts of Uttar Pradesh.
  • Governor: Krishan Kant Paul
  • Chief Minister: Harish Rawat (INC)