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Plantation drive on 1,500 km of National Highways under Green Highways Project
Jul 18, 2016

Government launched the initial plantation drive on 1,500 km of National Highways at a cost of about Rs 300 crore under the National Green Highways Mission

What benefit could be accrued:

  • Greening project has a huge potential to generate jobs and can prove to be a game-changer for agriculture and rural economy.
  • Greening of one km of highway provides employment to ten people.
  • This launch of  1,500 km under the Mission will employ 15,000 people .
  • The afforestation is expected to help in sequestering approximately 12 lakh mt carbon annually.
  • It will help in making India pollution free. It will also help in curtailing the number of road accidents in India.

Key Provisions:

  • The government has made it mandatory to set aside 1 per cent of the total project cost of any NH contract to a Green Fund corpus that will be used for plantation purposes.
  • The policy aims at changing the whole process for the avenue plantation and landscape improvement.
  • Earlier, the land needed for these activities was not considered during the Detailed Project report (DPR) stage. Now the new policy has recommended that the requirement of land for tree plantation should be included in the Land Acquisition Plans prepared by the DPR consultants. This move will help in pre-planning of the plantation activities and the space required for the same, so that there is a systematic plan before the construction of National Highways.
  • One percent of the civil cost of the road projects will be for developing green corridors.
  • The new policy has given a new insight to the process of development. It gives answer to the question whether the development process is putting our environment and natural resources into danger.  Such initiatives taken by the Government indicate that the process of development is not exclusive of environment protection. The development can be sustainable when systematic and conscious decisions are taken.
  • The monitoring of the plantation status has been included as an integral part of the policy
  • Aim of it is to help the environment, help local communities, and generate employment by planting trees along all the highways in the country. The target for the first year is to plant trees along 6,000 km of highways.
  • The target for the first year is to plant trees along 6,000 km of highways, for which 12,000 hectares of land is already available, he added.
  • The vision of the policy is “to develop eco-friendly National Highways with the participation of the community, farmers, NGOs, private sector, institutions, government agencies and the Forest Department for economic growth and development in a sustainable manner”, according to the policy document.
  • The objectives of the policy include developing a policy framework for the plantation of trees along highways, reducing the impact of air pollution and dust, providing shade on glaring hot roads during summer, reducing the impact of noise pollution and soil erosion, preventing the glare from the headlights of incoming vehicles, and generating employment
  • The Policy envisages a strict system of auditing whereby money will be released by the government to the empanelled agencies only if they have achieved a survival rate of 90 per cent the previous year.
  • There will be a strong monitoring mechanism in place by using ISRO’s Bhuvan and GAGAN satellite systems. Every planted tree will be counted and auditing will be done. The agencies performing well will receive annual awards

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