Environment Ministry exempts linear projects from taking clearance from Gram sabha
From now on, linear projects, such as roads, transmission lines and gas pipelines will not have to seek consent of gram sabhas to get clearance under the Forest Rights Act as the Environment Ministry has exempted these projects from it. Such consent was seen as one of the bottlenecks in securing clearances.
For such linear projects, which do not require vast parcels of land yet go through several gram sabha clearance process, getting consent from every single such body was difficult. As per NHAI (National Highways Authority of India), the move would speed up the pending projects. One of the major infrastructure projects affected by clearance lag is the 1,185-km Kochi-Koottanad-Mangalore-Bangalore gas pipeline.
Previously, the Highways Authority wanted the Environment Ministry to de-link environment and forest clearance for linear projects. A total of 101 infrastructure projects are awaiting clearance at various levels. These include some 32 road projects.