Only one of the eight National Highway projects in Himachal has got forest clearance while seven others have been put on hold till the next meeting.
The projects which have not been approved will now be discussed in March, while the work of the only project after approval will start now.
The last part of the highway from Kanthlighat to Dhalli is to be constructed in two parts. In the first part, the process of forest clearance from Kanthlighat to Shakral has been completed.
There is no obstacle left in the construction of this part. It may be noted that the total length of this part being converted into a four-lane is 17.465 km and the road is to be constructed at a cost of Rs 1844.77 crore.
Two tunnels and 20 bridges come in this route and apart from this, an underpass and a major junction will also be constructed.
It is noteworthy that the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) had completed the tender process for the construction of the National Highway on July 11, 2022.
This process is completed for both phases. Of these, about 11 km of National Highway is to be constructed from Shakral to Dhalli.
A budget of Rs 2070 crore has been kept for this. Three tunnels and seven bridges will be constructed in this part.
These include a three Qutub Minar-sized extra-dose bridge, while a tunnel will be built just below Sanjauli Bazaar and it will be the biggest tunnel of the entire route.
Its other end will open into Dhalli however, this part of the National Highway has not yet been approved and now it may take another month to start the work here.
On the other hand, after getting approval from Kanthlighat to Shakral in the first phase, now the process of construction of this part will start.
In fact, the firm which has been given the tender for construction by NHAI has to complete this route in the next three years and the time limit for construction will be counted from the first day of commencement of work.
NHAI had prepared a plan to start this project in January, but due to the non-receipt of forest clearance, there has been a delay of two months.
There are still six other projects, on which the decision will now be taken in the next meeting of the Forest and Environment Department.
Construction Directly after Clearance
After the forest clearance, now the construction of the National Highway will start directly, whereas earlier the file had to be sent to the Supreme Court for final approval.
This process used to take one to two years and delayed the start of the project, but in June last year, the Supreme Court removed this arrangement on a petition by NHAI.
Now the State Forest Department and the Forest and Environment Department of the Center are considered to have the final approval to start the work.
In such a situation, after forest clearance, NHAI is free to start the work of National Highway.
Kangra, Hamirpur, and Mandi have to Atill Wait
The wait for forest clearance for the construction of four-lanes on the Shimla-Mataur and Pathankot-Mandi National Highways has further increased.
This time, four projects of Shimla-Mataur, two of Pathankot-Mandi, and two of Kanthlighat-Dhalli were engaged for forest clearance, but out of these eight cases, one has been approved, while the decision on seven others will now be taken next month.