The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is to withdraw its case filed against the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) in the Supreme Court. NHAI, seeking relaxations in green norms for road projects, had filed the case against the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.
Sources concerned said that the decision to withdraw case was taken as per the details worked out at a meeting held under the chairmanship of Pulok Chaterji, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, on January 15. Chaterji had expressed his 'concern' over the issue of highway authority taking matter to the apex court.
In the meeting, the Road Transport and Highways Ministry had submitted that when the NHAI moved the SC, it was unaware of any MoEF circular issued to ease norms for green clearances. However, the January 7 circular does not help the highway project since these are big ones. The detailed report of 32 road projects awaiting green clearances pending with the MoEF till February 4 shows that the NHAI is yet to get the nod from the Ministry to allow construction work.
The Authority had been maintaining that there should be de-linking of environment and forest clearances for faster implementation of highway projects and that directive could come only from the SC.