Greening highways will immensely benefit the rural economy with potential for linking with NREGA’ - Shri Nitin Gadkari

Greening highways will immensely benefit the rural economy with potential for linking with NREGA’ - Shri Nitin Gadkari
The Minister of Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Shri Nitin Gadkari inaugurated a workshop on Transplantation Along National Highways in New Delhi today. In his inaugural address, he said, “Roadsmust be viewed as green highway opportunities. Aside from the environmental and aesthetic aspects, they have a huge potential to generate jobs and thus benefit the rural economy. It may even be linked with the NREGA scheme.” He further invited interested investors to take up experimental projects and said, “If needed, we will provide technology and financial support as well to the selected agency. As an incentive three winners from each state every year will also be awarded for exemplary work.” Projects will be monitored through satellite technology with payments to be made only after the success of projects. He urged research institutes like TERI to share its inputs on the transplantation techniques.The Minister also suggested that NHAI could utilize material like sand and soil by digging in areas along the highway and the villages would benefit as this would create the much needed ponds and lakes for rural economies.

Talking about environmental benefits that accrue from greening highways, the Hon’ble Minister urged the use of biofuels in machines to be employed in the project and organic fertilizers for transplanted trees.

MrRaghav Chandra, Chairman, NHAIsaid , “We have set aside 1% of our project cost for transplantation, plantation, beautification and maintenance. We have adequate funds and we intend to use it for setting SOPs, build capacity and imbibe the best global practices.”

• The targeted 2.5–3 billion tonnes of CO2 sequestration by 2030 from forestry sector could be achieved by the combined approach of forest conservation and plantation along with poverty eradication measures. Success of transplantation depends highly on knowledge and efficiency of the arborist/ Transplantation Agency carrying out the procedure. It is advised to appoint certified arborist for the transplantation work.

Transplantation projects across the globe may have become a quick and easy option of improving urban landscapes and green cover, but the low success rates make it incumbent upon the government and non-government actors to address some of the critical issues associated with this practice. To deliberate upon the best practices related to the technology and management of transplantation projects, and with the vision to create eco-friendly and aesthetically appealing highways, National Highways Authority of India along with The Energy and Resources Institute organized a workshop today for all stakeholders.

The recommendations that emerge from the various panel discussions are expected to not only improve the efficacy of the complex procedure of transplantation but also help create a carbon sink of 2.5–3 billion tonnes of CO2 through additional forest and tree cover by 2030. Evidently, this will contribute in achieving India’s goals scribed in Intended Nationally Determined Contribution. 

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