Govt launches Green Highways Policy

The government launched its Green Highways (Plantation, Transplantation, Beautification & Maintenance) Policy 2015 on Tuesday, the aim of which 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 Green Highway Policy will help in making India pollution free. It will also help in curtailing the number of road accidents in India. The vision of the policy is to provide dignified employment to local people and communities

Under this policy, every year 1 per cent of the total cost of highway projects will go the Green Highways Fund. That works out to around Rs 1,000 crore every year.

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.

Vision- 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.

Objectives- 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.

Stake holders: Contracts for greening highways will be given to NGOS, agencies, private companies and government organisations. These stakeholders will be responsible for the survival and health of trees. Planting of trees in any particular area will depend on the soil suitability and climatic conditions.

Monitoring Agency: It will be responsible for monitoring the plantation status on continuous basis by carrying out the site visit for field verification to check survival, growth and size of plantation and maintenance of the same. Performance audit of executing agencies will be regularly conducted by the agency on an Annual basis. New contracts will be awarded to the agencies based on their past performance audit.

 The policy will strike a balance between highways development and environmental protection. It will also help in providing employment to 5 lakh people of the rural areas.

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