NHAI threatens to drag environment ministry to court

NHAI threatens to drag environment ministry to court

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has threatened to drag the environment ministry to the Supreme Court, accusing the ministry of failing in complying with a court directive to de-link forest and environmental clearances.

NHAI's move comes a day after GMR Infrastructure terminated its contract with NHAI for the six-laning of the Kishangarh-Udaipur-Ahmedabad expressway project, alleging long delays in requisite environmental approvals.

NHAI is claiming that it had secured a favorable opinion from the law ministry as well as the Cabinet secretariat on the matter before deciding to go to the apex court.

Responding to NHAI's move, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan claimed that delays in the requisite approvals were due to incomplete application that was submitted by NHAI on behalf of GMR Infrastructure.

Lashing out at NHAI, Natarajan said, "Even as I speak, the information is incomplete. I need at least 10 days to put the information on the website for stakeholders to raise objections."

When asked about the directive about de-linking of forest and environment clearances, Natarajan maintained that that could not be done. She added that she was unaware of any inter-ministerial meeting where a decision was taken to de-link forest and environmental clearances.

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