The government will soon start developmental projects in the 100 km long Bhagirathi eco-sensitive zone (BESZ) in the upper reaches of Uttarakhand after getting approval from the concerned departments, road transport minister Nitin Gadkari said on Tuesday, a move, activists say, can harm the most pristine section of the national river.
The UPA government in 2012 had notified the stretch as no development or ESZ and asked the state government to constitute a monitoring committee to ensue that certain activities allowed in the notification can be conducted without disturbing the local environment.
Five years down the line, the committee has not been constituted and therefore, no development projects have been allowed. As per the notification, the formation of the committee is must to review the developmental project proposals coming up in the zone.
By 2019 the state will see construction of a number of roads worth Rs 50,000 crore, including the all weather chardham road project and five projects cleared under the Bharatmala plan, he said.
Five border road projects worth Rs 9,700 crore covering a distance of 570 km have been cleared for the state under Bharatmala project and the NHIBCL has been asked to finish the construction of these roads in six months, Gadkari told reporters.
The construction of the all weather roads project is being done with strict adherence to the international norms with special emphasis on their proper alignment and making them landslide resistant, he said.
Clearance has been given for the construction of a 4.5 km tunnel involving Rs 1300 crore at Silkyara as part of the project.
Replying to a question he said the National Highways Authority of India will spend around Rs 50,000 crore on a total of 70 road projects in the state by 2019.