Construction halted

Published: Sunday 31 March 2002

for now, the construction of the controversial Dalhousie-Chamba highway has been stalled. Recently, the Union ministry of environment and forests (MEF) ordered the Himachal Pradesh government to stop work on the highway which cuts across the Kalatop-Khajjiar wildlife sanctuary -- an area rich in biodiversity, including a dense deodar-pine forest.

It is believed that the state public works department had flouted the norms of the Wildlife Conservation Act. Earlier, the MEF had also banned the widening of the Chamba-Pathankot highway from Saroo to Gandihar for transportation of heavy machinery and equipment for hydroelectric projects as the highway disrupted the habitat of wild animals. The MEF order has caused ripples in some quarters, which say that it is important to link Dalhousie with Chamba via a short-cut. However, it is hoped that the Union government directive will go a long way in protecting species at risk.

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