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Gadkari asks envt ministry to expedite approvals to Char Dham, infra projects

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Union minister Nitin Gadkari today asked officials of environment, road and other ministries to expedite approvals holding back the ambitious Rs 12,000 crore Char Dham connectivity project.

Chairing a meeting of group of ministers on infrastructure, Gadkari said 18 proposals of the ambitious Char Dham project were scuttled in absence of various clearances which cannot be tolerated as the decision to build the new alignment was taken after a major catastrophe in Uttarakhand.

"There should not be any delay in the Rs 12,000-crore project for developing 900 km of National Highways in Uttarakhand for improving connectivity to Char Dham pilgrimage centres," Gadkari said during the meeting, as per officials who were present in the meeting.

The meeting was attended by Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal, Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan, officials of various ministries, including Railways and Defence, as well Uttarakhand.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone of the ambitious Char Dham project last year.

The project aims at improving connectivity to Char Dham pilgrimage centres -- Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri in the Himalayas.

Uttarakhand government officials present during the meeting pointed out a notification by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change declaring 40 square km area near river Bhagirathi as eco sensitive zone.

Gadkari urged his forest counterpart to look into the matter as this was not only holding up Char Dham project but causing delays in Namami Gange and Border Road Projects as well, the officials said.

Asking the environment and forest ministry to expedite clearances to 32 other highway projects, the Road, Highways and Shipping Minister also requested for exempting NHIDCL projects within 100 km of LoC or international boundaries from sending proposals to regional offices of MoEFCC, as in the case of Defence.

The issue of transfer of Defence land to National Highways Authority of India at various places was also discussed in the meeting as five such cases are pending, the officials said.

Asking Railway officials to expedite rail projects in Maharashtra, Gadkari said delays in infrastructure projects were causing socio-economic imbalances.

Besides, the Railways was requested to provide 35 acres of land at Varanasi for intermodal station.

A number of port projects including that of JNPT, Kandla and Kamrajar were also discussed during the meeting.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, August 03 2017. 22:02 IST