The National Highways will soon have enough budget to line the roads with trees. This ‘green highways policy’ approved by the government sets aside one per cent of the civil cost of national highway development projects for the planting of trees in a planned manner, covering both existing NH sections and new routes that would be added to the network.
The road ministry has fi nalized a “green highways” policy to “tree-line” 140,000 kilometers of national highways. The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) has formulated the new Green Highways (Plantation and Maintenance) Policy, 2015 after a series of reviews, which raised concerns about the poor quality and lack of maintenance of green cover along most national highways.
The vision, the policy says, is to develop eco friendly National Highways with participation of the community, farmers, NGOs, private sector, institutions, government agencies and the Forest Department. The guidelines also include the type of trees to be planted depending on the nature of soil, a monitoring agency, open tender schemes among other details.
This is a very positive move with multiple benefi ts apart from the environment. It improves driving pleasure by cutting down heat on roads; could prevent melting of tar due to extreme heat; offers employment to local population; offset carbon footprint in some way.