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Environment clearance indeed for highways 100 kms from LOC

Environment clearance LOC; The Union Environment Ministry has notified modifications to the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations,

By Ground report
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Environment clearance indeed for highways 100 kms from LOC

The Union Environment Ministry has notified modifications to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations, the Environment clearance required for the road projects related to defense and of strategic importance within 100 km of the Line of Control or border.

The notification issued by the Union Environment Ministry reads as "the exemption from a prior CE for all road projects up to 100 km from the control line or border does not exempt them from approvals/consents/permits, etc., which must be obtained under any other Act/Rule/ Regulation/ Bye-laws/ Notification etc.

Under the new policy, road developers in border areas will only have to ensure self-compliance with a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) notified by the Center from time to time.

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change orders that the following environmental safeguards be followed during the construction and operation of all highway projects that are exempt up to 100 km from the control line or border.

Risk Assessment, Landslide Management Plan and Disaster Management Plan

A risk assessment will be carried out and based on the assessment, the competent authority will approve and implement the disaster management plan according to the Disaster Management Law.

"If the proposed route passes through a mountainous area, a comprehensive study of vulnerability to landslides, slope stability, and vulnerability of the project area from the point of view of seismic activity, taking into account the seismic zone in which it is located, the eco-fragility study of the area will be carried out through a renowned Technical Institute on the basis of which a safe and environmentally friendly construction methodology will be adopted" the notification read.

The notification further reads "A landslide management plan will be prepared and all corrective and preventive measures will be taken before, during and after construction to ensure that all environmental safeguards are mandatorily implemented under the supervision of subject matter experts before construction is undertaken. In case of clearing or embankment, soil erosion control measures will be carried out due to the embankment, landslide, rockfall, etc".

"The necessary greenbelt must be provided on both sides of the road with adequate central margin and cost provision must be made for regular maintenance. The greenbelt will be developed with a native tree species in accordance with CPCB guidelines" the notification reads.

Old, large, and heritage-value trees should be retained to girth and age standards that may be prescribed by the Forestry Department. Where trees must be cut and transplanted with the prior permission of the relevant local authority, compensatory planting for forest land at a ratio of 1:10 (i.e. planting 10 trees for every 1 tree cut/no survival of any trees transplanted) will be made and maintained in accordance with current regulations.

Cleanliness of environment main reason for delays in border infrastructure

Earlier, the Defense Ministry had reported to Parliament that ensuring the cleanliness of the environment, forests and wildlife were some of the main reasons behind the delays in the timely completion of border infrastructure.

In the past, the Ministry of the Environment has given general approval for the diversion of forest lands required for the construction or expansion of roads entrusted to the Border Roads Organization in the area that is within an air distance of 100 km from the LoC.


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