NHAI moves SC on MoEF roadblocks, forest approvals
The highway authority has also sought a direction to the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) to modify its office memoranda (OM) of March and April 2011 so as to delink the two clearances in respect of widening of national highways.
However, the highway authority is unlikely to get any immediate relief as the Chief Justice of India is yet to constitute a new green bench after one of the judges, justice Swantanter Kumar, retired in December.
Another judge on the apex court’s green bench, justice Altaf Alam, is due to retire on April 18.
Due to a change in procedure after the MoEF’s OM, execution and completion of more than 22 awarded highway projects recommended by the Environmental Appraisal Committee of the green ministry have been stalled due to pending environmental clearance, NHAI said, adding that the mandatory requirement prescribed by the MoEF was playing “havoc” and putting its highway development projects in jeopardy.
Citing the law ministry’s recommendations to MoEF to move the apex court for modification of its judgment of July 6, 2011, in the case of mining company Lafarge, NHAI said that the requirement of obtaining first-stage forest clearance as a prerequisite for obtaining EC in respect of widening of national highways should be dispensed with as it is for the
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