Ranchi, Sept. 21: An expert panel of the Union ministry of environment and forests has fixed the terms of reference — a first step towards securing the all-important green clearances — for Mahulia-Baharagora-Kharagpur road, raising hopes of finally starting a project that has been stalled for over six months.
The expert appraisal committee of the ministry fixed the terms of reference during a meeting in New Delhi yesterday, laying down conditions focused on environmental impact for the state authorities including the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) unit in Ranchi.
NHAI deputy general manager (environment) B. Mukhopadhyay told The Telegraph over phone that the committee headed by former IAS Naresh Dayal cleared their proposal to widen the road on NH-33 and 6 linking the states of Jharkhand and Bengal.
“There are over 40 conditions laid down in the terms of reference which are necessary for getting environment and forest clearances,” he added.
The panel’s go-ahead means the state authorities concerned — the administration in East Singhbhum district where the section of the road in Jharkhand crosses through, NHAI, Ranchi, and forest department — will have to prepare environmental impact assessment reports in compliance with norms.
The environmental impacts of highway projects may include soil erosion, damage to sensitive eco-systems and changes to drainage pattern and groundwater levels.