About 7,000 trees will be axed to widen the Tanakpur-Pithoragarh stretch of the national highway 9 in Uttarakhand under a project that aims to connect four Hindu shines with all-weather roads, a senior engineer said.
The Rs 12,000-crore road project, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year, will connect the char dhams -- Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri. Pilgrims also take the Tanakpur-Pithoragarh highway to go to Kailash Mansarovar.
More than 33,000 trees will be chopped in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand to execute the project. The Tanakpur-Pithoragarh highway stretch – around 150 kms -- passes through the Kumaon region.
“About 7,000 trees will be uprooted in Kumaon for the road project on 100 hectares, including 11 hectares of civil land,” said LD Mathela, executive engineer of NH 125 Lohaghat division, who is in charge of road construction.
The Tanakpur-Pithoragarh section of the old NH 125 has been merged with NH 9.
Mathela said the road, after its widening, would bear the load of defence vehicles carrying armaments and equipment to India-China border posts, about 200km from the Pithoragarh town.
Unlike in the Garhwal region, no over-bridges and tunnels will be constructed in Kumaon. “Besides the non-rocky hills on the entire portion of the road between Tanakpur and Pithoragarh, the cost factor has not permitted us to construct tunnels; the 150-km portion of the road will be without over-bridges and tunnels,” Mathela said.
“We have assigned the project to four companies after examining their experience in construction of all-weather roads.”
The 12-metre-wide road will be constructed by 2019, said sources at NH 125 office at Lohaghat in Champawat district. “According to the design submitted by the construction companies, sliding portions of the road will be protected to making it weather-resistant,” Mathela said.