These guidelines were released seven months after the Ministry waived the requirement for environmental clearance for highway projects up to 100 km from the International Border (IB) or the Line of Control (LoC). However, the exemption of prior Environmental Clearance (EC) for highway projects up to 100 km from the LoC or border does not exempt them from other necessary approvals, consents, permissions, regulations, by-laws, and notifications.
An office memorandum has been issued to the chairpersons of all pollution control boards, expert appraisal committees, environment impact assessment authorities, and other relevant parties. The SOP mandates that agencies conduct a risk assessment and prepare a disaster management plan, which should be approved by a competent authority and implemented as per the Disaster Management Act.
If the road or highway passes through hilly terrain, a comprehensive study of the area's vulnerability to landslides, slope stability, seismic activity, and eco-fragility must be carried out by a reputed technical institute. Based on this study, an environmental-friendly and safe construction methodology should be adopted.
These new guidelines aim to ensure that all road and highway construction projects within 100 km of the International Border adhere to environmental safeguards and disaster management plans, and are implemented with utmost care and precaution.