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For Devotees and Tourists convenience, we have decided to set up toilets, dhabas and restaurants: Uttarkhand Tourism Min

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Earlier, the Uttarakhand government was planning on building hotels and tourist facilities to “make use” of the muck-dumping zones, a move that had sparked anger among environmentalists. Many had raised concerns that construction could have disastrous consequences — the land could cave in any time and because most of these sites are in forest and riverbed areas, they would be in the direct line of impact if a landslide or flood hit.

Reacting to the move by the state government to develop 54 of the muck-dumping zones on Char Dham all-weather road project as “tourism spaces”, tourism minister Satpal Maharaj told TOI on Tuesday that there were no plans to build hotels on the sites, but added that toilets and restaurants for “convenience of devotees” would be built.

“We have no plans to construct hotels on any of the 54 identified sites. For the convenience of the devotees and tourists, we have decided to set up toilets, dhabas, and restaurants. We realized that routes leading to the Char Dham did not have proper washrooms or restaurants and pilgrims faced several problems while traveling long distances,” Maharaj said. There are about 350 muck disposal sites along with the 900-km project. 

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The minister also said that the land belongs to the forest department and a boundary wall was being built in each of the 54 sites to house the basic facilities. “The rest of the land would be handed over to the forest department,” he said.

The state forest department officials had said that any new activity would be taken up “after proper clearances from the Centre.”

Of the 54 dumping zones, 30 are between Tanakpur and Pithoragarh, 10 between Dharasu and Yamunotri, six between Rishikesh and Mana, five between Rudraprayag and Gaurikund, three between Rishikesh and Dharasu, and one from Dharasu to Gangotri.


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