Government to set up Green Highways Fund
The government is planning to create a “Green Highways Fund” under its ambitious policy to transform India’s 96,000 km network of National Highways under which it will be mandatory to set aside 1% of the total road project cost for plantation.
The Road Transport and Highways Ministry is formulating the “Green Highways (Plantation & Maintenance) Policy —2015” to develop eco-friendly NHs with the participation of community, farmers, NGOs, private sector, government agencies and the Forest Department.
“It has accordingly been decided that henceforth, for the work related to the greening of National Highways, I per cent of the civil work cost should be added separately while arriving at the total project cost (TPC) of National Highways being developed on EPC/BOT mode,” the ministry said in a communication to states. It said, “1% of the TPC will be set apart for highway plantation and its maintenance.
This fund will be transferred to NHAI to maintain a separate fund account called ’Green Highways Fund’ only for this purpose.” This fund will be transferred to National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to maintain a separate Fund Account called “Green Highways Fund” only for this purpose, it said.
“This Fund will be utilised for Plantation & Maintenance work on all stretches of National Highways,” it said. Earlier, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari had said that to transform India’s national highways into green corridors, the government will soon implement an ambitious policy under which one per cent of the road construction cost will go towards planting trees.
The government plans to create a brigade of 1,000 contractors to fulfil this ambitious task, he has said adding, “Now, we have taken a decision that 1% of cost in construction is for tree plantation and other things. We are going to create 1,000 contractors in the country.”
He has said if the cost of road construction comes to around INR 1 lakh crore, INR 1,000 crore will go for plantation.
Gadkari has specified that planting trees in any particular area will depend on the soil suitability there, besides climate and success stories like Alphanso can be planted in Konkan in Maharashtra.