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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Chandigarh

Key projects delayed for want of wildlife board's nod
Vinod Kumar, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, May 04, 2013
First Published: 23:39 IST(4/5/2013)
Last Updated: 00:48 IST(5/5/2013)

Several key projects pertaining to infrastructure development are hanging fire for want of approval from the State Board for Wildlife (SBWL), which has not met for the past three years.


The board, whose approval is mandatory for projects that can have an impact on the wildlife, is supposed to meet twice a year. But, ironically, the 31-member board, which also has representatives of UT tourism and forest departments, last met in 2010. The UT administrator happens to be chairman of the board.

Some of the affected projects are 250-bed hospital at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), multi-level parking at Sector 17 and Maloya rehabilitation project. The hospital would be located near the F-block of the hospital and the estimate construction cost of the building would be Rs. 112 crore.

The board is responsible for advising the administration on management of protected areas and policy formulation for conservation of wildlife.

As per the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL), all states/UTs are required to declare eco-sensitive zones to ensure that the construction activities in such zones are regulated if not prohibited.

However, till the eco-sensitive zones are not notified by the government, all projects which require environment clearance and which fall within 10-km radius of such zones, require approval from the SBWL as well as the NBWL.

The UT's proposal of declaring eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) too has been marred by delays. On April 25, the officials had agreed to declare an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) around Sukhna wildlife sanctuary. But the administration missed the deadline set by the ministry of environment and forests. Earlier, February 15, 2013 was set as the deadline, which was later extended to May 15.

The Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary area is around 36km out of which only 2-km falls under the jurisdiction of the UT administration, while the remaining area falls under Punjab and Haryana.

The administration intends to impose strict guidelines regarding constructions within 500-metre radius of Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary, while certain relaxations would be given as per rules of the ministry of environment and forests.

Director, UT department of environment, Santosh Kumar refused to comment stating that the matter was related to eco-sensitive zone, which is yet to be notified.

According to sources, the meeting of the board would be convened shortly.

Projects awaiting nod:
* A 250-bed hospital at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER)
* Multi-level parking
* Maloya rehabilitation project


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