The Indian government on Tuesday approved a Rs 1,384 crore tunnel project in Uttarakhand as part of ‘Char Dham’ project to connect the pilgrimage sites – Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Gangotri . The Char Dham are the names of four pilgrimage sites in India that are widely revered by Hindus.

The India Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval to the construction of 4.531 km long 2-Lane Bi-Directional Silkyara Bend – Barkot Tunnel with an escape passage including 328 m approach road on Dharasu -Yamunotri section between Chainage 25.400 Km. and Chainage 51.000 Km in in the State of Uttarakhand.The project will be positioned along the NH-134 (old NH-94) in the State of Uttarakhand. The project will be built under the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Mode. The construction period of the project is 4 years. The civil construction cost of the project is estimated at Rs. 1119.69 crore, while the total project cost is Rs. 1383.78 crore, which is inclusive of the cost towards Land Acquisition & Rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities as well as Maintenance and Operation cost of the tunnel for 4 years.

The construction of this tunnel will provide all weather connectivity to Yamunotri, one of the dham on Chardham Yatra, encouraging regional socio-economic development, trade and tourism within the country. It will reduce the travel distance from Dharasu to Yamunotri by about 20 km and travel time by about an hour. The proposed tunnel will save number of trees that would have been required to be removed in the road improvement of 25.600 km, had the original alignment been followed.

The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH), through National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. (NHIDCL), a wholly state owned company, formed in 2014 for development of highways in states on the international borders.

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