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In a move that may expedite implementation of highway projects in the country, the union cabinet waived environmental approval for highway projects up to 100 km in length.
The government so far waives green nod for highway construction up to 30 km. This has led to huge delay in the implementation of several projects.
Following the relaxation of norms, at least 70 percent of projects to be awarded this year under the engineering procurement and construction (EPC) model would not need to get the environment clearance.
The government plans to award almost 80 percent of the 9,500 km highway or road projects to be implemented this year on EPC mode.
In addition, the cabinet also increased the limit of exempting environmental clearance for highway projects which need additional 40 meter for further widening. This limit was earlier 20 meter.
The relaxation of norms is expected to revive the interest of private sector in highway projects, which is suffering from slow implementation.
Earlier, road transport and highways ministry had taken up the case of no green nod for roads upto 200 km and expansion of existing stretch by another 60 meter with the environment and forest ministry.