The Centre, on Monday, March 22, informed the parliament that there was no connection between the Uttarakhand flash floods in the Rishi Ganga valley and the widening of roads for the 'Char Dham' Highway project.
In a written reply, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari told Rajya Sabha that the information was based on the state government's official reports, Geological Survey of India (GSI), and Defence Geo-informatics Research Establishment (DGRE), reported NDTV.
"As per reports received from Government of Uttarakhand, Geological Survey of India (GSI) and Defence Geo-informatics Research Establishment (DGRE), construction and widening of roads for the Char Dham project did not contribute to the Uttarakhand floods disaster," he said.
The Centre, in February, had denied similar claims in the Supreme Court. The denial came in response to a communication from the high-powered committee (HPC) chairperson Ravi Chopra, who said that the project to be the cause of the floods.
Char Dham Highway Project
The 900-km highway project aims to connect four shrines of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath and provide weather connectivity to the four holy towns. According to the reports, it is being implemented at the cost of ₹ 12,000 crores.
Earlier Gadkari had said that the Char Dham Project is strategically important and the government will ensure that environment in the Himalayan eco-sensitive region is not damaged. The Supreme Court had also ordered to reduce the breadth of road. But Gadkari had said the breadth will be increased if accidents rise and the trees that would need to be cut in the process will be transplanted.