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Uttarakhand plans hotels on Char Dham road muck sites

Tuesday, August 17, 2021, 14:12 Hrs  [IST]
HBI Staff | Hyderabad

On shaky expanses lined with muck and debris from the Char Dham all-weather road project, the Uttarakhand government plans on building hotels and tourist facilities to “make use” of the land. Environmentalists are alarmed and have flagged it as a move that could have disastrous consequences — the land could cave in any time and because most of these sites are in forest and riverbed areas, they would be in the direct line of impact if a landslide or flood hit.

There are about 350 muck disposal sites along the 900-km project. On Saturday, state tourism minister Satpal Maharaj asked officials to come up with an action plan to develop 54 of these sites as “tourism spaces”. Of the 54 dumping zones being considered for this, a source told , 30 are between Tanakpur and Pithoragarh, 10 between Dharasu and Yamunotri, six between Rishikesh and Mana, five between Rudraprayag and Gaurikund, three between Rishikesh and Dharasu, and one from Dharasu to Gangotri. “The move is also meant to generate employment,” an official told.

Many of these sites are also in ecologically sensitive forest areas or near river beds. “Concretising them would damage forests and alter the course of rivers. If a flood or landslide hit, these areas would be directly affected,” said environmentalist Reenu Paul.

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