NEW DELHI: The Rs 12,000 crore ‘Chardham’ highway project in Uttarakhand will be completed by the end of 2018 irrespective of which party comes to power in the state, Union minister Nitin Gadkari has assured.
Minister for Road Transport and Highways Gadkari also exuded confidence of winning the state election. Assembly elections in Uttarakhand were held in a single phase yesterday and the results will be announced on March 11.
He said that 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. Just a week before the imposition of the modal code of conduct in view of the assembly polls in Uttarakhand, Modi had laid the foundation stone for all-weather highway project — Chardham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojna or the Chardham highway development project — aimed at improving connectivity between pilgrimage centres of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.
The move prompted the Congress party to dub the project as a “poll stunt”, saying the BJP had played a similar gimmick before the Bihar assembly elections. Gadkari rejected the Congress contention, saying it was not done in view of state elections. Gadkari said his ministry also plans to develop Auli, a skiing destination in Chamoli district in the state, as a world class tourist place on the lines of Davos in Switzerland as the place witnesses temperature dipping to minus 6 degrees Celsius.
Noting that investment in tourism increases job opportunities, he said, “We are studying the Auli project. I promise you that 10,000 youths of the hill areas of the state will get the jobs due to this initiative. It will change the face of the area.” Asked about the investment requirement for the Auli project, he said, “There is no dearth of money for this project.”
Underlining that Uttarakhand has a huge potential of tourism, he said there are possibilities of other forms of tourism like adventure and water tourism in the hill state. “With the construction of the all-weather road, tourists will come throughout the year. There would be requirement of restaurants, hotels. There could be water sports, adventure sports in the state,” he said.