To assess the extent of the ecological damage that construction activity is causing, Down To Earth travelled 250 km on the Char Dham Mahamarg from Rishikesh to Gangotri. The evidence is apparent from Muni Ki Reti itself, the traditional gateway to the Char Dham pilgrimage. Photographs by Vikas Choudhary
The colourful landscape of the Lesser Himalayas at Muni Ki Reti, on the outskirts of Rishikesh, does not paint a pretty picture. It’s not just road construction that has ravaged the mountain. Landslides are a recurring feature along Char Dham highways that lead up to Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath.
The Centre decided to launch a Rs 12,000-crore project to improve road connectivity to Char Dham, the four revered Hindu pilgrimage sites, in ecologically sensitive Uttarakhand.
Road construction has left Agar village in Narendra Nagar district comprising around 150 households with no access to the world. The only road connecting the village to the main road, some 20 metres down the mountain, has collapsed.
As many as 25,300 trees have been cut and 373 hectares of forestland diverted for Char Dham Mahamarg.
Dehradun-based non-profit Citizens for Green Doon has filed a petition against the Uttarakhand government in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on February 22, 2018, seeking a stay on the Char Dham project.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.