In a major development to boost inter-state road connectivity between Punjab with Haryana, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has given green signal to the much-awaited forest clearance to the four-laning of Jalandhar-Barnala project, paving the way for initiating the project soon.
As per the sources, the decision was taken in high level meeting of members of the regional empowered committee (REC) that comes under environment ministry headed by chairperson.
The much-awaited Rs 3000-crore four-laning project on the Jalandhar-Barnala highway that will be built on Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) mode, will uproot 22,700 trees to make way for one of most ambitious project into state which will give a big boost to and others region of country.
The project will also kill around 160 hectare forest area from the state in the name of development.
Three forest divisions including Phillaur, Muktsar and Sangrur had submitted their reports with ministry after completing respective surveys of forest area and trees which come on 146 km road in the month of June.
The Phillaur division of Jalandhar district had surveyed the areas come into district from Dr Ambedkar Chowk to Shahkot sub division in which around 52.80 hectare areas of forest and as many as 2800 trees will be chopped off.
The Muktsar forest division surveyed area from Dharamkot and Badhni Kalan (both areas come in Moga district). As per report, around 60 hectares forest area will be reduced and around 13000 trees will be cut for widening the road. This is largest forest area from other two divisions and will be more affected due to this project.
The Sangrur forest division has inspected areas which come after Badhni Kalan to Barnala city in which, around 38.7 hectares forest area and expected 5000 trees will be displaced to make way for the project.
In May this year, deputy commissioners (DCs) of Jalandhar, Moga and Barnala already handed No-Objection Certificates (NOCs) under Forest Rights Act.
An official said that forest department will plant 10 times more saplings and the executing agency will provide the department with matching land and pay the cost of chopped trees.
A total of 350 hectares land will be acquired for the 146-km road for which Public works department (Building and road) will float tenders in the month of October this year.