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Supreme Court Clears Chardham Highway Project

Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has allowed various works in progress under Centre’s Chardham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojna plan for connecting four holy places — Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath — by an all-weather road.

An apex court bench comprising Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman and Surya Kant also ordered the Ministry of Environment and Forests to form a high-powered committee (HPC) by August 22.

The bench said the committee will consider cumulative as well as independent impact of the Chardham project on entire Himalayan valleys.The committee will also give directions to conduct Environmental Impact Assessment by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the court said and asked the committee to submit its recommendations within four months.The bench said the committee will hold quarterly meetings to ensure compliance and may suggest any further measure after each review meeting.

The committee would consider if revision of the full Chardham project should at all take place in order to minimize the adverse impact on the environment and social life. The court said the committee will also assess the environmental degradation, loss of forest lands, water resources and the impact on the wildlife. The committee will direct mitigation measures. (IANS)

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