The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has framed Green Highways (Plantation, Transplantation, Beautification & Maintenance) Policy-2015 to develop eco-friendly National Highways with participation of the community, farmers, NGOs, private sector, institutions, government agencies and the Forest Department.
The objective of the policy is to reduce the impacts of air pollution and dust as trees and shrubs along the Highways act as natural sink for air pollutants and arrest soil erosion at the embankment slopes.
As per the ministry communication, for the work related to the greening of National Highways, 1 percent of the civil work cost should be added separately while arriving at the total project cost (TPC) of National Highways being developed on EPC/BOT mode.
The policy aims at changing the whole process for the avenue plantation and landscape improvement. Earlier, the land needed for these activities was not considered during the Detailed Project report (DPR) stage. The policy has recommended that the requirement of land for tree plantation should be included in the Land Acquisition Plans prepared by the DPR consultants. This move will help in pre-planning of the plantation activities and the space required for the same, so that there is a systematic plan before the construction of National Highways.