THE GOVERNMENT has termed allegations that road construction triggered landslides in Uttarakhand as “spurious and counter productive” to national causes, and asserted that geology of the area is fragile.
Union Road Transport and Highways Secretary Giridhar Aramane said on Wednesday the government’s aim is to provide connectivity to remote areas and it is yet to be scientifically established that the Chardham project has resulted in landslides and flash floods in the area.
Last week, the Supreme Court reserved its verdict on pleas with respect to the ambitious project. The strategic 900-km Chardham project worth Rs 12,000 crore aims to widen roads and provide all-weather connectivity to four holy towns – Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath — in Uttarakhand.
Aramane cited reports of the Geological Survey of India (GSI) and other organisations to emphasise that road construction was not the reason for any of the landslides in Uttarakhand.
“The area is generally prone to landslides, even where there is no road… geology of the area is so fragile that there is no need for any external provocations. Internal forces, plate movements itself causes enough landslides in that areas,” he said
Aramane said the objective of the government’s project is to connect the remote areas and the border areas with good roads where the armed forces can reach. “… it is a strategic necessity and necessity for taking care of our own people, Indians living in the remote areas. So the allegation that highway construction is causing landslides is both spurious as well counter productive to the national causes,” he said.