In a bid to ensure that road building does not have a negative impact on the environment, the Union Shipping and Road Transport ministry has launched the Green Roadway scheme for the planting of saplings on national highways and has appealed to MPs to pitch in to the effort.
Inaugurating his department’s project at NH-45 in Chennai, minister of state Pon Radhakrishnan said that the endeavour is a tribute to BR Ambedkar as the launch coincides with the death anniversary of independent India’s first law minister.
Radhakrishnan urged all MPs to plant at least one sapling on national highways as part of the scheme even as he averred that Prime Minister Narendra Modi believed in the policy of his predecessor and BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee that roads were key to national development.
The prime minister is therefore committed to achieving maximum road connectivity in all parts of the country, urban and rural, the minister said.
“All MPs should plant at least one sapling on national highways,” he said, adding that elected representatives like MLAs and those who are part of local bodies should also contribute towards the initiative.
Talking about the scheme and noting that a large number of trees are felled whenever a road or highway is built, Radhakrishnan said that the NDA government aims to address the environmental concerns in this regard.
Over 31,000 trees were felled during the laying of NH-45 within the 600-km stretch between Chennai and Kanyakumari and that would be compensated with the planting of three saplings for every tree which was axed, he said.
Meanwhile, praising Ambedkar, he said that the first law minister had designed the Constitution in such a way that it was acceptable to all sections of society. Ambedkar’s efforts were vital to ensuring that India remained steadfast on the path of democracy when many other countries, including Pakistan, have faltered, he said.
Later, Radhakrishnan told reporters that the Centre’s proposed move to scrap the supply of subsidised kerosene would not affect the poor, but declined to elaborate in the matter.
The NDA government has reportedly scrapped the supply of subsidised kerosene through PDS and is planning to ask states to provide the fuel at subsidised rates to unelectrified houses only, a move which has already been opposed by Tamil Nadu government.