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Uttarakhand okays transfer of forest land for construction of roads 


DEHRADUN: Amid heightened tensions between India and China, the Uttarakhand government has approved transfer of 73.36 hectares of forest land in the protected Gangotri National Park for construction of strategically important roads near China border.

The move is part of the government’s efforts to ramp up infrastructure in border areas. The roads, to be constructed by the Central Public Works Department, will considerably reduce the distance to the border and facilitate the movement of Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel and Army soldiers, who at present have to walk 15-25 km to reach their posts in remote border areas. 

The proposal was cleared at a meeting of the State Wildlife Advisory Board, chaired by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, on Monday evening. The total length of the road to be constructed will be 35.66 km. The three different stretches planned are: — Sumla-Thangla (11.85 km), Mandi-Sangchokla (17.60 km) and Tripadi-Rangmachgaad (6.21 km).

The proposal will now be sent to the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) within a week for its approval, said Anand Bardhan, Uttarakhand’s principal secretary (forests). The hotel associations of Uttarakhand have decided not to allow Chinese citizens. “We are a peaceful country but China has a history of aggression. We are not going to tolerate this anymore,” said Sanjay Gupta, president of Doon Hotel Association.