Environmental clearances for 25 highway projects which involved diversion of forest land were pending for want of Stage–I Forest Clearance.
However, in view of the recent decision to delink environment and forest clearances for linear projects, including highway projects, these 25 projects were granted environmental clearance on March 21, 2013, the minister says.
This was stated by Jayanthi Natarajan, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Environment and Forests, in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.
These included one project from Bihar, four from Uttar Pradesh, seven from Rajasthan, three from Maharashtra, two each from Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, one each from Meghalaya and Himachal Pradesh.
These also include four projects passing through more than one state (two in Rajasthan-Gujarat and one each in Karnataka-Andhra Pradesh and Punjab-Himachal Pradesh).
She further clarified that new National Highways, expansion of National Highways of more than 30 km length with additional 20 meter Right of Way and New State Highways, expansion of State Highways in eco- sensitive areas or in hilly terrain of above 1,000 meter Mean Sea Level require prior environmental clearance under Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006.