Joshimath residents oppose construction of Helang bypass – ET Infra

DEHRADUN: After the Uttarakhand government gave permission to restart the construction of Helang bypass in May this year, Joshimath residents and traders have opposed the project.

According to locals, the construction work at Helang would have an adverse impact on the “sinking hill town” and that it was against tradition as “the visit to Badrinath was incomplete without offering prayers at the Narshingh temple of Joshimath.”

Rakesh Ranjan, president of Joshimath Hotels’ Association, told TOI, “A delegation of local residents had met with the district authorities and work is on hold for the past two days. But if the project continues, we will be forced to intensify our protests.” He pointed out that after the land subsidence scare broke out, not many Char Dham pilgrims were interested in taking a halt at Joshimath. “Now, after the construction of the bypass, no pilgrim will come here and the economy of the entire region would be ruined,” added Ranjan.

Commenting on similar lines, Nain Singh Bhandari, president of Joshimath Vyapar Sangh, said that the locals had suffered a major loss this year. “Firstly, not many came to the area during winter and now the area has seen a major dip in the number of pilgrims taking a halt. There is a tradition of pilgrims visiting Narsingh temple before heading for Badrinath,” he added. Helang is 9km before Joshimath on the Badrinath route, and the 6.5km bypass – being constructed by the Border Roads Organisation — would open at Marwari. While passing through Joshimath, a person going to Badrinath, Hemkund Sahib or Valley of Flowers is required to cover a distance of 21km to reach Marwari from Helang but after the construction of the bypass, the distance would be reduced to 6.5km. After issue of land subsidence at Joshimath cropped up on January 2 this year, the work of bypass was stopped.

  • Published On Jun 10, 2023 at 07:55 AM IST

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