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Uttarakhand upbeat about Char Dham highway plan

After the 2013 calamitous floods, the national highways connecting the Char Dham area in Uttarakhand are all set for a massive revamp, thanks to the Rs 12,000-13,000-crore package announced by the central government.

An announcement to this effect has already been made by Union Road Transport and Highway Minister Nitin Gadkari recently at Haridwar.

News of the package has also thrilled Uttarakhand with the ruling Congress welcoming the plan. “We welcome the plan to revamp our highways connecting Char Dham. Uttarakhand is a highly sensitive state as it shares a long border with China. The centre must focus on our state and take necessary steps to strengthen infrastructure,” said state Congress President Kishore Upadhaya.

“This package is for revamping seven highways in our state for the next few years,” said Amit Negi, secretary, PWD.

The seven highways are Rishikesh-Rudraprayag, Rudraprayag-Gaurikund, Rishikesh-Dharasu, Dharasu-Yamunotri, Dharasu-Gangotri, Rudraprayag-Badrinath and Tanakpur-Pithoragarh. But six of the national highways are for connecting the four Hindu shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri which are collectively called “Char Dham”. The centre has also hired seven consultants for the seven projects, Negi said.

Negi made it clear the central government’s package of Rs 7800 crore is totally separate from the Rs 13,000-crore national highway package announced by Gadkari in Haridwar. In the Rs 7,800 crore package, the state government will spend Rs 2,700 crore on strengthening state highways and roads, Negi said.

The local contractors are also very enthusiastic about the big construction plan of national highways in the Char Dham area. “Local contractors also get benefit of the big construction activities,” said Randhir Negi, a contractor with PWD.

The chief minister has stated his government will complete the reconstruction works at Kedarnath and adjoining areas in two-year time ahead of the deadline set by the centre.

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