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More farmlands to be acquired for Chennai-Salem highway project

Infra News - Published on Mon, 18 Mar 2019

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Indian Express reported that the controversial Chennai-Salem Greenfield Corridor project is back in reckoning. National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has completed the joint inspection with forest department and finalised the alignment, according to which less forest land and more agriculture land will be acquired for the project compared to the previous estimate. Application for forest clearance seeking diversion of about 34 hectares of reserve forest has been submitted, while its environment clearance application is under consideration of Union Environment Ministry.

Now, total land area required is pegged at 2,086 hectares, of which 33.83 hectares will be reserve forest falling under four divisions - Chengalpattu, Tiruvannamalai South, Dharmapuri and Salem. Tiruvannamalai stands to lose the maximum forest cover of 20.81 hectares.

Initially, NHAI proposed to acquire 2,791 hectares, which included 120 hectares of forest land. After an unprecedented public backlash, land requirement was brought down to 1,900 hectares, including 45 hectares of forest area, for which Union Environment Ministry issued amended Terms of Reference on December 10, 2018. Now, authorities have reduced the impact on forest land and increased non-forest area by 197 hectares. It is not clear whether NHAI has to approach the ministry again for an amendment taking into account fresh revision of the project.

Senior forest officials confirmed to Express that a proposal for forest land diversion was received from NHAI on January 8 and H Malleshappa, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Head of Department) has returned the proposal highlighting a few shortcomings.

An official said that “NHAI has resubmitted the proposal and is being assessed.”

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Mon, 18 Mar 2019
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