PMO steps in as Delhi govt holds back green nod for Dwarka E-way
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has stepped in to resolve the outstanding issues between Delhi government and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for early rollout of the Dwarka Expressway project.The PMO has called a meeting of representatives from the Delhi government, environment ministry, DDA and highways ministry on Wednesday, sources said.
The Delhi government has been sitting on the NHAI’s application for green clearance for the stretch falling in the national capital. The meeting scheduled to be chaired by PM’s principal secretary Nripendra Mishra comes more than a month after highways minister Nitin Gadkari urged Delhi chief secretary Anshu Prakash to find a solution to grant the environment nod for felling or transplanting trees so that work can start quickly.
National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which will execute the project, has claimed the green approval as the last hurdle in the way of this much-delayed link between Delhi and Haryana.
Earlier, the Delhi government wanted NHAI to take up the issue of tree felling with the Centre, as under the Forest Conservation Act, it amounts to “diversion of forest land”. It had maintained that roadside plantations done by DDA as “deemed forest”. But NHAI had produced environment ministry’s rules, which clearly state the provision of the Act won’t apply to areas which have not been notified as protected forest and hence Delhi government could grant permission following local rules and regulations. Delhi government had rejected this request.
TOI has learnt that Delhi government’s forest department has suggested NHAI that the authority should seek green permissions under two categories, forest clearance for one side of the road and tree cutting for the other side. It has also made reservation over the 130 acres land identified by the Delhi Development Authority for compensatory forestation. Sources said the forest department has said that the rocky land parcel was not conducive for plantation.
“The DDA has taken the responsibility of planting trees and there will be security deposit to ensure that the trees survive,” said an NHAI official.
Source : Toi