The ambitious Delhi-Meerut Expressway project, aimed at de-congesting traffic in the national capital, proposes construction of total four stretches, including Nizamuddin bridge to UP border, UP border to Dasna and Dasna to Hapur.
"Based on the recommendations of the Expert Appraisal Committee, the Environment Ministry has given environment clearance to NHAI's proposal to construct a greenfield alignment of Delhi-Meerut Expressway from Dasna to Meerut and the six-lane connector," a senior government official said.
The proposed Dasna-Meerut alignment has been approved subject to certain conditions, the official said. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has proposed constructing a 46-km long road on this new alignment consisting of one major bridge and four minor ones.
NHAI has proposed improving and widening 19 culverts to four lanes, with 626 to be newly constructed. The proposed project, which would involve land acquisition of 479.91 hectares, is estimated to cost Rs 1,658 crore.
Among the conditions specified, the Environment Ministry has asked NHAI to secure stage-I forest clearance for diversion of 15 hectares of forest land as required under the law.
Meanwhile, NHAI has given an undertaking to the ministry that it would execute work on non-forest land only up to such point on either side of forest land and in case it does not get forest clearance, the project would be executed along an alternative alignment without involving forest land diversion.
But the ministry has made it clear that commencement of work on non-forest land will not confer any right with regard to grant of approval under the Forest (Conservation) Act. NHAI and the Transport Ministry have been asked to re-evaluate the minimum distance between national highway and urbanisation, industrialisation or commercialisation of stretches to avoid congestion.