What are the issues surrounding the Chardham Highway Project?

The Supreme Court of India has asked the committee which is monitoring the Char Dham Highway project to take into account the applications from Defence Ministry.

Application from Defense Ministry

The Defence Ministry has submitted an application to the committee. In the application, the Defence ministry has asked to widen roads up to seven metres at the Indo China border within 2 weeks. As per the Ministry of Defence, a carriage way width of seven metres is required to transport the heavy vehicles, tanks, troops,  armaments and artillery. The Defence Ministry has listed the roads that required to be  made suitable to quickly mobilize the heavy equipment. These roads are to be constructed under the Chardham project and will be connected with the line of actual control at the India-China border.  These roads also connect the Indo-Tibetan Border Police stations.


The Supreme Court of India had asked the Road Transport and Highways Ministry on September 8, 2020 to follow the circular of 2018. The circular of 2018 had asked to stick with the 5.5 metre carriageway width.

About Char Dham Project

The Char Dham project provides all weather connectivity to the pilgrimage sites in Uttarakhand namely, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. The Char DHam Project was started at the cost of Rs.12,000 crore.  This project is being implemented by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Border Roads Organisation, Uttarakhand State Public Works Department and National Highway & infrastructure Development Corporation Limited. It is being undertaken on Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) mode under which the cost of the project is entirely borne by Government of India.

Issue with the Char Dham Project

The project is aimed at constructing the wider roads. These roads connect the key pilgrimage sites of the Uttarakhand. However, the project is surrounding with many controversies. Environmentalists raises concerns involving the hill cutting. They claim that hill cutting harms the mountain ecosystems. Environmentalists further see this against the violation of SC orders on the road width that required to be followed in mountainous regions. But, the Central government deny this allegation. The environmentalists also raise the concern that, this project will affect the Bhagirathi Eco Sensitive Zone.