Char Dham road project vital to national security, govt tells SC

Char Dham road project vital to national security, govt tells SC

NEW DELHI: The defence ministry told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that stalling the Char Dham road widening project would impede swift movement of men, machine, tanks and heavy weaponry to the heated India-China border and have a grave impact on the country’s security.
“These roads need to be developed and substandard curves improved in such a manner as to allow quick movement to border points and ensure armed forces/ troops are not overtaken by swift enemy movements. In case the feeder national highways are not developed to the requisite standards, they will become bottlenecks and will delay deployment of troops and machines in case of emergency mobilisation,” it said. The ministry said the entire border with China was sensitive. A bench of Justices RF Nariman, Navin Sinha and KM Joseph also took into account the fresh affidavit filed by the highways ministry and asked the high powered committee (HPC) to consider the issue afresh. It asked the HPC to submit a report within two weeks. While the ministry and the Army wanted the road to be a two-way carriageway with a total width of 7 metres, the HPC chairman had given a minority report insisting on the Char Dham road project as a single carriageway with a width of 5.5 metres. In its application, the defence ministry sought urgent resumption of doublelaning work on three strategic roads — the 281-km Rishikesh-Mana road, 231-km Rishikesh-Gangotri road and 162-km long Tanakpur-Pithoragarh road.

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