New Delhi: Giving a big push for construction of the Delhi-Jaipur Expressway, an expert panel of the Union environment ministry has cleared the terms of reference (ToR) for the project.
The nod from the environment ministry’s expert appraisal committee (EAC) for infrastructure projects came at its meeting on 1 December.
The proposed expressway, whose total length would be 195.10km, starts from the Kherki Toll Plaza at Gurgaon, Haryana, and terminates near Chandwaji at Jaipur.
Proposed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), the project area covers 423 villages in 11 talukas of seven districts in the states of Haryana and Rajasthan.
The total land required for the project is 1,755.9 hectare, which includes 1354.98 hectare of private land, 360.65 hectare of government land, reserved forest of 1.22 hectare and the protected forest of 39.728 hectare.
As per documents submitted to EAC by NHAI, the total environment budget of the project is Rs50.60 crores, R&R (rehabilitation and resettlement) cost of the project is Rs5,000 crore and the total civil cost is estimated to be Rs6,350 crores.
“Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary in Haryana is situated at a distance of 5.15 km from the proposed alignment of the Expressway, and as such requires clearance under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 by the Standing Committee of NBWL,” noted the minutes of the EAC’s meeting that were reviewed by Mint.
“The Committee, after detailed deliberations, recommended the proposal for grant of Terms of Reference … and for preparation of EIA/EMP reports after public consultation,” the minutes added.
ToRs are guidelines for conducting environmental impact assessment (EIA) studies of projects, based on which EAC recommends or rejects environment clearances to the project.
After EAC’s recommendation, the environment ministry grants or rejects green clearance to a project.
The main aim behind the proposed Delhi-Jaipur Expressway is high speed connectivity between Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in New Delhi and Jaipur which is a major tourist destination for foreign tourists coming to India.
The project was earlier granted ToR for a length of 226.4 km expressway in December 2013. But in view of the high cost and subsequent decision of the Union roads ministry and the government of Haryana, the proposed expressway alignment was revised and NHAI came back to EAC in June earlier this year for revised ToR.