Special report: Modi government’s highway project in Himalayas is built on lies and legal violations - ALL Jobs News

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Friday, 11 September 2020

Special report: Modi government’s highway project in Himalayas is built on lies and legal violations

At 3,500 metres above sea level, Himalayan glaciers melt to create Ganga and Yamuna, rivers that support over 600 million Indians. This ecologically sensitive region in the state of Uttarakhand is now the site of a massive 900-km highway-building project called the Char Dham Pariyojana.

The project seeks to improve road connectivity to four Hindu pilgrimage sites, Gangotri and Yamunotri, near the source of the rivers, and the temple towns of Badrinath and Kedarnath. In 2013, a cloudburst above Kedarnath had caused flash floods in the region which killed over 5,000 people.

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation for the Char Dham Pariyojana in December 2016, he dedicated it to the flood victims, ignoring the consensus among environmentalists that over-construction in the hills had exacerbated the 2013 tragedy.

On Tuesday, environmental groups opposing the project won a significant victory in the Supreme Court. Based on the recommendation of a high-powered committee appointed in 2019, the court passed an order favouring a narrow width for the highways that are being built as part of the project.

But the order comes after substantial damage has already been done to the Himalayan ecology. As the committee’s report painstakingly documents, nearly 700 hectares of forest land have...

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from Scroll.in https://scroll.in/article/972616/special-report-modi-governments-highway-project-in-himalayas-is-built-on-lies-and-legal-violations?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=public

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