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Road Projects Worth Rs 50,000 Crores in Bihar Stalled Due to New Environmental Condition

Patna: Road projects worth Rs 50,000 crores in Bihar have been stalled due to new conditions imposed by the Ministry of Forest and Environment. The ministry now requires 650 hectares of non-forest land to start these projects, necessitating a significant amount of forest land. The Ministry of Forest and Environment has mandated the state government to provide an equivalent amount of non-forest land in exchange for using forest land.

The Bihar government has expressed its helplessness in meeting this requirement, which has halted the progress of highway construction. The state government argues that in a densely populated state like Bihar, it is nearly impossible to provide the required non-forest land. Previously, forest land could be used for road construction without this obligation; the state only needed to pay for planting twice the number of trees cut down and deposit cash at a rate of Rs 6.5 lakhs per hectare according to the net present value. However, the new condition imposed by the Central Government’s Forest Ministry now requires the government to also provide equivalent non-forest land to develop green areas.

The Bihar government has opposed this condition, highlighting the existing difficulties in acquiring land for road construction in the state. They argue that if this condition is enforced, road construction work in Bihar will come to a standstill. Additionally, the state government believes that this condition should not apply to road projects uploaded on the Parivesh portal before the new rule was implemented. However, the Forest Department is applying this rule to all road projects submitted to the Center.

Several key projects have been affected by this new condition. The Varanasi-Kolkata six-lane expressway requires 140.71 hectares of land, the Ara-Sasaram project needs 28.89 hectares, and the Sarwan-Chakai project requires 19.87 hectares. Additionally, NH 227A Mehrauna Ghat Sesiwan (Ramjanaki Marg) needs 24.13 hectares of land.

Land Requirements for Various National Highways:

  • NH 333A: Barbigha-Shekhpura-Jamui-Jhajha-Banka Panjwara to Jharkhand border – 162.01 hectares
  • Bhagalpur-Khaira: 71.76 hectares
  • Darbhanga to Banwari Patti: 21.02 hectares
  • NH 227A: Siwan Semsharkh – 8.322 hectares
  • Bakaarpur-Manikpur in Vaishali, Saran, and Muzaffarpur: 4.10 hectares
  • Parsarma Sebariahi section: 18.15 hectares
  • Umgaon-Kaluahi Saharghat-Rahika-Bideshwarsthan-Bheja: 39.10 hectares
  • Rajouli-Bakhti Yarpur: 10.36 hectares

 

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