No environmental clearance needed for border roads projects: A step towards destruction of our biodiversity

If you closely look at the environmental protection policies taken by Modi Govt, it is not really surprising that we are placed last (180/180) in the Environmental Performance Index 2022

No environmental clearance needed for border roads projects: A step towards destruction of our biodiversity
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Mahendra Pandey

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change continues its lethal war on environment, through notifications, amendments and office memorandums. It has even exempted highways located 100 kilometers inside from international borders and Line of Control from obtaining prior environmental clearance, citing strategic importance and defence installations. What the ministry is sidelining is the importance of these eco-fragile areas which are highly eco-sensitive and need to be preserved. Instead, terming them as "strategically important", the Modi government is completing its dream projects, such as the Char-Dham Highway.

The Char-Dham Highway suddenly acquired strategic importance when green groups, environmentalists, civil societies and geologists fiercely opposed it and the Supreme Court ordered it not to exceed the width of 5.5 metres. The Ministry of Defence said the highway will be used for transportation of missile launchers and other defence equipments. The Government then appealed to the top court to approve its planned width of 10 metres.

In 2020, the MoEF&CC's Draft EIA Notification 2020 was criticised by national and international environmental experts. Ultimately Special Rapporteur at the United Nations wrote a letter to the government of India raising the concern that the Draft Notification does not require the publication of information or holding of public consultation for projects labeled by the Central Government as “involving strategic considerations”. The MoEF&CC submitted its reply to the Ministry of External Affairs in September 2020 saying, “the categorisation of projects under ‘defence and other strategic considerations’ also exists in EIA Notification 2006. This has not been changed. The said projects shall continue to be appraised and shall require EIA”. The same ministry exempted highways of so-called strategic importance from the list of prior environmental clearance in July 2022.

If you closely look at the environmental protection policies taken by Modi Govt, it is not really surprising that we are placed last (180/180) in the Environmental Performance Index 2022.


Construction projects in the Himalayas would only decay the biodiversity of the region, and go against every suggestion given by environmental experts who have repeatedly noted that it's sensitive and should not be disturbed.

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