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Re-assess Char Dham rail project: SJM

The Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) called for a relook and re-assessment of the Char Dham railway project, describing mindless construction in the sensitive Himalayan region as the principal cause of subsidence in Joshimath, a city Adi Shankaracharya founded in the eighth century.

SJM said devastation caused by major projects in Uttarakhand needed to be stopped. “The Char Dham road widening project must regulate the road width to intermediate standard to minimise the damage to the terrain.

The Char Dham railway project is an overambitious plan that will cause much devastation and further burden the tourist-centric state of Uttarakhand. This project should be reassessed and re-looked at,” said SJM in a statement.

The SJM’s statement came after a day-long round table conference on the Joshimath crisis. With experts demanding urgent action, the SJM called for the Himalayas be declared an eco-sensitive zone.

“Unplanned construction in such fragile terrain is the reason for the collapse of Joshimath and recent disasters. The way the mountain was cut at the foothills of Joshimath for the construction of the Char Dham Marg and a tunnel was dug up in the middle of the mountain for an NTPC hydro project without a proper study, it meant disaster for fragile mountains,” SJM said. The RSS affiliate cautioned the government, saying the entire Uttarakhand, especially tourist centres of Nainital and Mussoorie, was on the verge of sinking.


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