Environment Ministry approves waiver of mandatory green clearances for strategic border roads
Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has given in-principle approval to Union Home Ministry and Ministry for Road Transport and Highways for waiver of mandatory forest and environment clearances for construction of strategic roads and bridges along border.
This in-principle approval by MoEF was granted in order to expedite strategic border projects under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 for diversion of forest land for creation of border security related infrastructure within five kilometres aerial distance from the International Border.
Earlier, Union Home Ministry had requested MoEF to exempt environment clearance for infrastructure projects falling within 100 km from Line of Control (LoC), Line of Actual Control (LAC) and International Border (IB).
In response to this request, MoEF has allowed diversion of land for setting up of surveillance equipment within 5 km from the International Border and 100 km from LAC.
Ministry of Road Transport and Highways also had requested MoEF to give environment and forest clearances at their respective state level in order to expedite these infrastructure projects along the States having borders.
The states mentioned were: Bihar, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan, Punjab and Gujarat.
MoEF gave approval to Ministry of Road Transport and Highways under Forest (Conservation) Act for creation of security related installations for all states having international border except to the state of Jammu & Kashmir as this Act do not extend to it.
Implications of this decision on strategic border projects
- Paramilitary organisations like Border Security Force (BSF) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) are the first line of defence along the IB. This approval will help them to meet their most of installations requirements such as border roads, fencing, Border Outposts, floodlights, surveillance and power infrastructure are required to be created along or near the IB.
- Due to the inhospitable terrain along the LAC, installations of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police deployed along the LAC as first line defence, are required to be created at far away distance from the LAC. Now they can construct strategic installations within 100kms of LAC.
- These strategic projects will help to tackle repeated incursions along LoC, LAC and IB.