Govt proposes use of forest land to build highways

SHILLONG, Sep 14: In a bid to give a facelift to state highways, the Meghalaya government has proposed that forest land be used for construction of highways under the Special Accelerated Road Development Programme in North East (SARDP-NE) stretching from Ranikor in West Khasi Hills to Moeshkhola in South Garo Hills.
Replying to a query of NPP MLA Rakkam A Sangma, Forest and Environment Minister James Sangma said that the proposal includes diversion of 27.606 hectares of forest land for upgrade of state highway (SH-04) stretch from Panda to Baghmara in South Garo Hills and diversion of 12.781 hectares of forest land for upgrade of state highway from Nongjri in East Khasi Hills to Maheshkhola in South Garo Hills.
The minister successively explained that compensatory afforestation for the two projects will be done in the degraded forest land twice in extent of the forest areas diverted at Saipung Reserve Forest, East Jaintia Hills.
According to James, compensatory afforestation will take place in an area of 55.212 hectares for diversion of 27.606 hectares of forest land for upgrade of SH-04 stretch from Panda to Baghmara and an area of 25.262 hectares for diversion of 12.781 hectares of forest land for upgrade of state highway from Nongjri to Maheshkhola.

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