Chardham highway project: Supreme Court to hear 'border road' matter on May 14 - SARKARI JOB INDIAN

Chardham highway project: Supreme Court to hear ‘border road’ matter on May 14

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New Delhi: The matter related to the widening of the Chardham highway project would be heard by the Supreme Court on Friday (May 14) after the Centre said that it involves the question of national security as the road goes up to the China border.

The matter came up for hearing before a vacation bench of Justices Vineet Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari. “It is a matter of border road. We cannot give this much time. It is important,” the bench told an advocate, who was appearing in the matter and seeking three-week adjournment, said a PTI report.

Attorney General KK Venugopal told the top court that the road goes up to the China border. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, however, opposed the request for a three-week adjournment and said the matter should be heard soon. “This is a question of national security. The road goes up to the China border”.

The bench, which told the parties to place before it the relevant orders passed earlier in the matter by the apex court, said it would hear the matter on May 14.

In its affidavit filed earlier in the matter, the Centre had urged the top court to accept the majority report of 21-members of the High-Powered Committee (HPC) recommending the road to be developed to two-lane with paved shoulders (10 metre wide carriageway) considering the strategic requirement and snow removal needs.

The HPC is monitoring the Chardham highway project on the widening of roads up to India-China border in Uttarakhand.

Earlier, the Ministry of Defence had sought modification of the top court’s September 8 last year order which had asked the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) to follow the 2018 circular stipulating carriageway width of 5.5 metre.

In August 2019 the apex court had cleared the decks for the Chardham highway project by modifying a National Green Tribunal order to constitute a high-powered committee to look into environmental concerns.

It had said that the HPC shall consider the cumulative and independent impact of the Chardham project on the entire Himalayan valley, besides other things. 

Notably, the strategic 900-km Chardham highway project aims to provide all-weather connectivity to four holy towns — Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath — in Uttarakhand.  

Refund process starts for Chardham tickets

Meanwhile, the Uttarakhand government has started the process of refunding money to the devotees, who booked helicopter tickets in advance for the Chardham Yatra in Kedarnath. This comes nearly two weeks after the state government postponed the pilgrimage in view of the massive surge in COVID-19 cases.

The entire booking amount for helicopter services to Kedarnath temple, except Rs 200 taken from each pilgrim as processing fee, would be refunded, according to Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat’s order last month.

Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN), a government undertaking, collects fare from the devotees on behalf of the helicopter companies through its website.

GMVN Director Ashish Chauhan has written to the bank concerned, asking to start refunding money to their accounts.

The Chardham Yatra was scheduled for this month and the advance bookings for helicopter services to the Himalayan temple had commenced on April 2. 

(With Agency Inputs)

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