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The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that the needs of the defence and environmental concerns need to be balanced while deciding upon the widening of hilly roads in Uttarakhand, NDTV reported.

The court was hearing a non-governmental organisation Green Doon’s petition opposing the broadening of road, saying that felling of trees for the purpose could lead to landslides and harm the wildlife.

The Centre has been wanting to widen the 899-km road of the Char Dham highway project – that connects the four shrines – near Dehradun by 10 metres.

In September last year, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to keep the width of the Char Dham road at 5.5 meters, Bar and Bench reported.

“We must tell you our predicament in this,” the court said on Tuesday. “If Centre says that they are doing it for tourism, then we understand and we can impose more stringent conditions. But when it is needed to defend the borders, then it is a serious predicament [the] Court has to encounter in cases like these.”

Attorney General KK Venugopal, representing the Centre, said that wide roads had “strategic importance” as China was stationing troops on the border adjoining Uttarakhand, NDTV reported.

He added that the Indian Army needed the feeder roads to be of a certain width to…

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