The Supreme Court has permitted delinking of environment clearance from forest clearance for highway projects, thereby unlocking 2,700 km of highway projects of total value of about Rs27,000 crore for development.
These projects that were cleared by the environment ministry have been stuck for want of clearance from the forest ministry. Forest ministry clearance was necessary for road projects that cut through forest areas.
Confirming this, officials of the highways ministry and the National Highways Authority of India said these were highway projects, for which the environment ministry had given the go-ahead, but the forest ministry clearance was pending.
With the environment ministry linking both environment clearance and forest clearance in mid-2011, road projects got struck for want of both the clearances.
Developers have to get both clearances in order to be eligible for project funding by banks and financial institutions.
This has prevented development of 2,700-km of highways costing around Rs27,000 crore since mid-2011.