Plantation, transplantation, beautification, landscaping and maintenance activities will be an integrated component for all new highways projects. Land requirement for ensuring homogenous width in ROW for plantations and allied activities shall be assessed in planning stage itself. Vacant land parcels available near road alignments and flyovers shall also be considered for high density plantation of commercial agro-forestry crops. Provisions of funding for planning, implementation and monitoring for the green corridor development and management shall be done from 1 % of Total Project Cost (TPC) of all new National Highways projects.
It is experienced that the scenario of roadside plantations is not satisfactory in most of the projects implemented through BOT, DBFOT and public funded projects. Assessment of plantation status on existing highways is required to work out remedial measures necessary for improving the quality and quantity of plantations. In some cases even though the plantation survival rate and quality are good but the aim shall be to develop robust green corridor for ensuring optimum GHG sequestration and enhancing the aesthetics.
NGHM intends to develop sustainable model for Green Corridor development along National Highways. Efforts will be made for creating backward and forward linkages for the Green Highways Projects, which will essentially involve financial resource planning through convergence of federal schemes; exploring institutional tie-ups for transfer of technology regarding efficient green corridor planning; Community interface for project implementation; buy back arrangement for sustainable harvest and linking GHG sequestration benefits with Voluntary Carbon Offset Markets.
Various research, case studies and pilot projects conducted globally have confirmed that green corridors are the effective means of pollution control. Green corridors work as vegetation buffer around the pollution source and help in absorption of GHG gases and collection of dust particles.
Plantation and allied activities require large manual workforce, generating livelihoods opportunities for semi/unskilled workers. It is expected to provide 4000 man-days of employment per km in plantation and management activities. Plantation and management activities along 1 lakh km stretch will generate 40 crore man-days of employment ensuring sustained employment opportunity for 1 lakh semi/unskilled workers for minimum 250 days a year for next 10 years.
Transportation sector emits 14 % of the global GHG emissions which is only second to power sector. Almost 89 % of these emissions are from surface transportation mediums including roads, waterways and rails. In due course of time, road transportation system is bound to reach its saturation level, therefore focus will shift on harnessing potential of other cost effective transportation medium such as railways and waterways. Similarly, utilization of river transportation system for cargo movement and tourism will result in release of high volume of effluents in water bodies. It is important to assess the environmental impacts of these developments and strategies for pollution containment shall also be developed for combating future climate change effects.