With a view to mainstream Sustainable Development and Environmental Management into highway development projects, National Highways Authority of India 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. Chairman NHAI initiated the dialogue with the representatives from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change last month. The dialogue will now continue through meetings to be held once every quarter, providing a structured platform for expeditious consultations with all stakeholders for convergence of development goals with conservation needs.
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. Chairman NHAI has assured to undertake all necessary measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate any impact on wildlife that may result in the course of development of National Highways. NHAI would provide the coordinates of all NH projects to WII for developing a Geological Information System (GIS) enabled map of all National Highways passing through Protected Areas. Chairman, NHAI emphasized the necessity of scientific designing of mitigation measures, so that the project designs could be optimized, safeguarding wildlife while maintaining the cost-effectiveness of the projects on long term basis. With such a platform in place, NHAI expects to reduce the time factor in consultations, clearances and finalization of mitigation plans thereby saving huge costs to the society.