Green Highway Projects: Path to Sustainable Development

Green Highway Projects: Path to Sustainable Development

Question: Highway projects are an important infrastructure for economic development. Green highways are the pathway to sustainable development. Elaborate.

- Highway projects need to be environmentally sustainable to ensure natural resources are not lost in process of highway construction

- Highways developed as green corridors sustain biodiversity and also benefit local stakeholders besides increasing eco-friendly economic growth and development

- Green Highways (Plantation, Transplantation, Beautification & Maintenance) Policy-2015 is in place to develop eco-friendly National Highways with community participation and aid from NGOs, public and private sector institutions and the Forest Department.

- Aim is to change the impact of air pollution to lower levels and have trees and shrubs to absorb the GHG emissions

- Also, these plants will arrest soil erosion at embankment slope

- Plants along highway median strips reduce vehicular glare and prevent accidents

- Community involvement in tree plantation generates employment besides galvanising the Panchayats, NGOs and SHGs.

- Policy aims at changing the whole process for avenue plantation and improvement of landscape through a Detailed Project report

- New policy defines responsibilities of the planting agency to supervise field operations and monitor the site for successful establishment of green cover

- Monitoring of plantation status is an important part of the policy for monitoring progress of planting and status of plantations on a regular basis

- Maintenance may also be carried out through outsourcing as part of the policy

- 1% of the civil cost of road projects will be for development of green corridors

Facts and Stats

- India has 46.99 lakh kms of road length

- From this 2% of the road length or 96214 km are National Highways

- These highways carry 40% of traffic load

- Ministry has decided to develop current NHs and 40,000 km as additional road over the next few years as Green Highways

- Project aims at development of Nation with Natural Highways to follow the road of development and pave a journey for sustainable development
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