Indian Government Launches Green Highways Policy

December 28, 2015

The Centre has launched the Green Highways (Plantation, Transplantation, Beautification and Maintenance) Policy 2015, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari told Lok Sabha on Thursday. The policy aims to develop eco-friendly National Highways with the participation of the community, farmers, NGOs, the private sector, government agencies, and the forest department, Gadkari said during Lok Sabha’s Question Hour on Thursday.

Elaborating on the benefits, the minister said that this initiative would help around 10 lakh people get employment opportunities.

According to Gadkari, the key objectives of this policy are to evolve a framework for plantation along national highways, to reduce the impact of air pollution and dust as trees and shrubs are known to be a natural sink for air pollutants, to reduce the impact of the increasing noise pollution, to arrest soil erosion, to prevent glare from the headlights of incoming vehicles, etc.

The transport ministry has already decided that, henceforth, for the work related to making the highways more green, 1 per cent of civil work costs should be added separately while arriving at the total project cost of national highways being built, he added.

Gadkari also appealed to all MPs to come forward to help the Road Transport Ministry to implement the green initiative successfully.

During the Lok Sabha Question Hour session, the minister also highlighted the fact that around 1.5 lakh people die in road accidents every year in India. “Around 1.5 lakh people die in around 5 lakh road accidents every year in the country. This is a huge number,” Gadkari said.

He explained that due to such a large number of accidents, the country loses around 55,000 crore annually, which is 3 per cent of the GDP.

The minister also added that during the 12th Five Year Plan, private investment to the tune of approximately 1,78,000 crore is required for the development of National Highways out of the total requirement of 4,83,000 crore.

Gadkari went on to speak about the hurdles which are generally faced while dealing with the Road Transport and Highways Ministry and said that all problems related to execution of 95 per cent of highway projects were resolved and work on them will start very soon. In case of the remaining 5 per cent projects, efforts are on to resolve the pending issues, he said.

“Considering the importance of completing the projects, various steps have been taken by the government and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to remove the hurdles affecting the construction of national highways that includes streamlining of land acquisition and regulatory clearances, close coordination with other ministries, revamped disputes resolution mechanism, etc.,” he said.

He added that the NHAI has also decided not to award projects till all major pre-construction approvals are in place for the projects to avoid post-bid delays and litigations.


Sources: carandbike(NDTV venture)

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