NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Tuesday said the 2018 circular of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) on width of roads in hilly and mountainous terrains be followed in construction of Chardham highway project, providing all-weather connectivity to four holy towns of Uttarakhand.
A bench headed by Justice Fali Nariman ordered the Centre to comply with the 2018 circular of the MoRTH 2018 circular where the intermediate carriageway of 5.5 meters tarred surface is adopted for hilly terrain.
Centre has sought court’s permission to make it seven-meter but the court refused saying that the government can’t violate its own circular.
The all-weather road is 889km long and will connect Hindu pilgrimage sites of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunothri and Gangotri in the Himalayas.
Uttrakhand-based ecologist Ravi Chopra, the chairman of a Supreme Court-constituted high-powered committee (HPC), submitted a detailed report on August 13 to union environment ministry specifying alleged violations that occurred during the construction of the project.
It cited a circular issued by the Union MoRTH in the year 2018. The other report has the signatures of 21 members and suggests the government stick to the project’s present design and roads all along the highway be expanded to double lanes as planned.
The ministry had in March 2018, recommended against ‘double laning and paved shoulders’ in hilly terrain and recommended a narrower intermediate road width.