AP Padhi reviews state projects awaiting forest clearance

Bhubaneswar: Several major ongoing development projects in the state awaiting forest clearance are likely to be revived soon, with Chief Secretary AP Padhi reviewing the progress of these pending projects in a high-level meeting held in Secretariat conference hall on Friday.

Conducting a project-wise review, Padhi directed the forest department officers to expedite the forest clearance and approval process to avoid time and cost overrun of the ongoing projects.

This apart, required tasks were identified against each project following which Padhi set timelines for completion of the proposals and transmission of the same to the Central Government. The meeting further discussed on creating a land bank for compensatory afforestation.

“The pending projects waiting for Stage-I forest clearances were figured in the meeting. Basically, issues related to National Highways projects, railways projects, projects of Works department and Irrigation department were identified. Many such projects are stuck due to delay in forest clearance. A review was conducted on how we can expedite the clearance process from forest department and also discussions were held on pending work on the sites of various user agencies,” said Padhi.

According to reports, eight major railway doubling projects including the Sambalpur-Talcher, Sambalpur-Titlagarh projects have been stuck up waiting for forest clearance.

Similarly, Chandikhol-Duburi-Talcher NH, Bahadagoda-Singhora NH-6 and five other National Highway projects which are stuck due to delay in forest clearances were reviewed and expedited.

This apart, OMC mines and irrigation projects including Kalaringa mines, Chromite mines in Kalipani, Kuramitar mines, awaiting a go ahead from the department were also reviewed and expedited.

Additional Chief Secretary Forest & Environment Suresh Chandra Mohapatra, Development Commissioner R Balakrishnan, Principal Secretary Steel & Mines Raj Kumar Sharma, Principal Secretary Industry Sanjeev Chopra, Special Secretary Commerce & Transport Manoj Kumar Mishra, OMC Managing Director R Vineel Krishna , Member Secretary OSPCB Debidatta Biswal along with senior officers from concerned departments were among others present in the meeting.