Of these infrastructure projects, three highway projects will fall in Protected Areas
From 2020 to 2022, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has given clearances to around 87 development projects, with three falling in protected areas. Around 2.3 million trees will have to be removed to support these projects, the ministry said on February 2, 2023.
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“Over the last three years (2020-2022), about 31 projects related to highways; 11 projects related to ports; 15 projects related to airports; 20 projects related to river valley and 10 projects related to thermal power plants have been granted environmental clearance by the ministry,” Ashwini Kumar Choubey, minister of state for MoEFCC, told the Rajya Sabha February 2, 2023.
The minister was responding to Rajya Sabha member Vivek K Tankha’s question regarding large-scale environmental clearances to infrastructure projects by the Government of India over the last three years. The parliamentarian also sought information on the number of trees that will be cut as a consequence and in furtherance of these infrastructure projects.
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Of these infrastructure projects, three highway projects will fall in Protected Areas. The answer further added that in place of the trees felled, compensatory afforestation will take place.
“About 23 lakh trees have been proposed to be removed for the development of the aforementioned projects. Compensatory plantation is carried out as per the extant norms and the same is incorporated as a condition in the respective Environmental Clearance,” read Choubey’s answer.
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