The Chardham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojna, or the Chardham Highway Development Project, is an ambitious initiative to improve connectivity to the Char Dham pilgrimage centres in the Himalayas.
The Chardham Expressway National Highway is a two-lane roadway project on Express National Highway, maintained by National Highways Authority of India meant to connect the four Hindu pilgrimage sites of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. It has a minimum width of 10 metres, with a total length of 720 kms, connecting “Mana” in the north-end direction and “Rishikesh” in the south-end, state of Uttarakhand.
This proposed project will be under the development of Char Dham Railways. The major cities that will be covered under this project is Rishikesh, Dharasu, Rudraprayag, Gaurikund, Joshimath and Mana. The total cost of this project is ₹ 12,000 crore and the foundation stone was laid by Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi on December 2016 for the same in Dehradun.
The highway is known as Char Dham Mahamarg (Char Dham Highway) and the construction project is known as Char Dham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojna (Char Dham Highway Development Project). The objective of this project is to simplify the connectivity for travellers and pilgrimage site to the Chota Char Dham centred in the Himalayas. The construction of this Mahamarg will include several long bridges and tunnels to eliminate the slide prone areas and possible accidents. Indian Railway and National Highways Authority of India have been directed, by the Chief Secretary of India, to ensure the integrated route of railways and the highway.
Key Facts of the Chardham Expressway National Highway:
This bi-directional tunnel is 4.531 kms long and will have approaches on Dharasu-Yamunotri section, and chainage 51 kms in Uttarakhand. The construction period is of four years, where the total cost is approximately ₹ 1500 crore, inclusive of the land acquisition and other pre-construction cost activities, as well as Maintenance and Operations of the tunnel.
The project will be implemented and executed by Ministry of Road Transportation & Highways, through National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. (NHIDCL).
Significance of the Project
The construction of this tunnel is about the connectivity to Yamunotri, one of the main sites in Chardham Yatra. This project will increase the connectivity and encourage regional socio-economic development, trade and tourism within the state. It will also reduce travel distance from Dharasu to Yamunotri by about 20 kms and travel time by about hour. If original alignment of this project is followed, it will save number of trees that are required for the road improvement.
The goal of Chardham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojna project is to improve the connectivity to Char Dham pilgrimage, which aims to make the journey safer, faster and more convenient. This two-laned highway includes tunnels, by-passes, bridges and viaducts to avoid traffic bottlenecks. This project aims to be environment friendly because of the techniques that are being implemented in the design structure to make this project a success. It will also have double side amenities and public facilities including parking spaces and emergency evacuation.
Minister for Road Transport and Highways Gadkari also exuded, “This (Chardham project) is a promise made to the people of Uttarakhand. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has initiated the process. It will be completed before the end of 2018.”