Govt unveils policy to create green corridors along national highways

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 22, 2018

Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari and Roads Ministry Secretary Vijay Chhibber at the announcement of the Green Highways Policy2015, in New Delhi, on Tuesday Shanker Chakravarty

Developers will have to spend 1% of project cost on planting trees

The government on Tuesday unveiled a Green Highways Policy — 2015 under which road developers will need to earmark 1 per cent of a project’s total cost for planting of trees and shrubs along national highways.

“The government intends to take up road projects worth ₹1 lakh crore a year and 1 per cent of it — ₹1,000 crore — will be spent on tree plantation along national highways,” said Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari, while outlining the policy.

Under the policy, land acquisition will be part of the detailed project report. Noting that roadside plantation is not satisfactory in most projects, the policy said it is the responsibility of road implementation agencies to develop green corridors along highways. The planting of trees, mainly fruit and shade-providing trees and shrubs, and their maintenance will be outsourced through a bidding process to agencies empanelled by a ministry-authorised agency.

The focus will be on transplanting trees instead of cutting them.

“Around 12,000 hectares have already been identified and are available for this. A 6,000-km stretch can be covered in a year, which can be gradually increased,” said Vijay Chibber, Secretary, Roads Ministry.

Gadkari said there would be regular performance audits. “Satellites Gagan and Bhuvan will keep track of each tree,” he said, adding that the top three performers would be awarded each year on World Environment Day, on June 5.

Reiterating that there was no dearth of funds with the government, Gadkari said the projects would be awarded on a turnkey basis, based on the quantum of plantation for the specific site through bidding, and the payment will be made as per the agreement.

Around 1,200 roadside amenities, , including hotels, restaurants and handicrafts outlets, will also be developed along the stretches, Gadkari said, adding that he expected 5 lakh jobs to be generated, benefiting local communities.

Published on September 29, 2015

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