NHAI creates platform to address conservation concerns

New Delhi, Feb 8 (IANS) The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on Monday said it created a dialogue platform with stakeholders to mainstream sustainable development and environmental management in highway development projects.

“NHAI has taken the lead in creating a platform for dialogue, where development goals and conservation needs can be resolved across the table by all stakeholders,” said an official statement.

NHAI chairman Raghav Chandra initiated the dialogue with representatives of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in January.

The stakeholders will meet every quarter to provide a structured platform for expeditious consultations for convergence of developmental goals with conservation needs, the statement elaborated.

“NHAI propose using space technology for planning and monitoring of conflict zones and putting in place mitigation measures for environmental protection and conservation along the highways. Conservation of wildlife is the focus of attention,” the statement cited.

Chandra promised to take all necessary measures to avoid, minimise and mitigate the impact on wildlife of the national highways development.

To achieve this goal, NHAI informed that it will provide the coordinates of all national highway projects to WII for developing a geographical information system (GIS) enabled map of all national highways passing through protected areas.

“With such a platform in place, NHAI expects to reduce the time factor in consultations, clearances and finalisation of mitigation plans, thereby saving huge costs to the society,” the statement added.

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