27th September 2016, Mumbai, focusing on green highways, participants from corporate houses, bank and public sector units provided valuable insights on implementing the necessary policies to make the highways greener on the first day of the two-day India CSR Summit and CSR Partnerships Exhibition 2016 at Bombay Convention and Exhibition Centre, Goregaon (East).
The National Green Highways Mission (NGHM) under the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is the nodal agency for effective implementation and monitoring of Green Highways Project.
Dr Ajoy K Bhattacharya, MD at National Green Highways Mission moderated the session that saw participation from eminent stakeholders. “Our mission is to be responsible for implementing the green highways policy. We have around 1 lakh kilometres of highways available for greening and may be in the next ten years, we will have 2 lakh kilometres,” said Dr Ajoy K Bhattacharya, MD at NGHM.
Ms. Induja Rai, advisor at NGHM made an insightful presentation on Adopting a Green Highway where she discussed different possible ways in which corporates and individuals can adopt the initiative. This includes adoption under the corporate social responsibility, public private partnership and by individuals themselves. One of the positive sides of greening the highways is the ability to create sustainable employment opportunities for around 1 lakh people.
The participants included Mr. R Murahari, General Manager at Power Finance Corporation, Mr. Anup Gurvugari, Senior Vice-President at Yes Bank, Mr. Suneel Pande, Vice-President at ITC, Mr. Ajay Kumar Mahapatra, Managing Director at Odisha Forest Development Corporation and Mr. Suresh Chauhan, Fellow and Area Convener of Forestry and Biodiversity group of Water Resources and Forestry Division in TERI.
National Green Highways Mission:
Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), Government of India has recently promulgated Green Highways (Plantations, Transplantations, Beautification and Maintenance) Policy – 2015 to develop green corridors along National Highways for sustainable environment and inclusive growth. National Green Highways Mission (NGHM) under National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has been entrusted with the task of planning, implementation and monitoring roadside plantations along one lakh km network of National Highways.
Roadside plantations have immense potential to enhance the green cover of nation and generate employment opportunities for rural community. NGHM intends to afforest approximately four lakh acre land and develop one lakh direct employment opportunity in plantations sector in next ten years. We also plan to use / adopt innovative and best green highways technology practiced worldwide such as storm water management, use of green energies, irrigation techniques, etc.
NGHM under its programme intends to collaborate with corporates and PSUs under their CSR program for developing Green Highways for Sustainable Environment & Inclusive Growth. Organisations can “Adopt a Green Highway” (for developing Roadside Plantations along National Highways) under their CSR Program. This initiative will help in fulfilling India’s commitment at CoP 21 Summit for voluntary carbon emissions reduction of up to 35 % by 2030.
Organizations funding roadside plantations will be facilitated in advertising their brands along highways at strategic locations. NGHM is also working towards developing a mechanism through which the Organizations contributing towards greening of NHs, can earn carbon credits appropriately, which will help them fulfilling their environmental obligations, besides economic gains.