After the National Green Highways Mission (NGHM) was launched last year, it has come a long way to materialise into reality soon. National Highways Authority India (NHAI) has organised a 'Convention on Innovations in Green Highways' to develop a roadmap for establishing a base to this greening project.
Under this mission green corridors will be created along the national highways around the country, providing ecological as well as economic benefits to the local communities. The convention was inaugurated by Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping, followed by key note address from Dr Hans Friederich, DG, INBAR, China.
When asked about how Dr Friederich feels about the mission he said, "This initiative of greening the highways of India is a first in the world. I don’t think there are many countries, if any, that have done something at this scale.”
He further elaborated his involvement with the project, "We have agreed with NHAI that we will provide inputs wherever possible. We have also signed an agreement to identify what these areas can be. One of them is to find the best practice from around the world. Then it is bringing out a network of specialist experts to help with management, plantation, use and the other various aspects of bamboo industry."
Dr Friederich stressed that it is important to bring in local communities and NGO's to be a part of the project. Without them, monitoring, maintenance and sustainability won't be possible, he said
Among the other discussions at the convention was the use of technology and research to be brought in to make the mission a success.
Professor C.R. Babu who served as a faculty member of the Department of Botany, University of Delhi was also present for the event. "Trees assimilate huge quantity of pollutants, especially from vehicle emissions. The green Highway concept is welcome, but its prime objectives should include social, ecological and economic values. There should be cultural and educational involvement within the people to provide proper implementation. It’s up to the management to validate suggestions made in these discussions and extract the best practices.”
Prof. Babu also stated that more research is not needed and we need to take forward the already available research in an Indian sense.
The NHAI is looking for CSR and Public and Private Partnerships (PPP) to reduce costs and involve the masses. Representatives of many private organisations were also present for the discussions to observe the progress of the project.
T R Manoharan, National Representative for India, Forest Stewardship Council said, "I am attending to know more. We provide certification systems so that world's forests can be managed well. This project is a linear project and it will have a diverse impact on environmental values.”
When asked about if their organisation will be collaborating with NHAI, Manoharan said, “Our organisation is looking at the areas of convergence but right now the project is in its initial stages and it would be very soon to say where we will be contributing. Some areas in this project can be certified and we will be identifying areas of convergence as the project gets past the discussions and debate phase.”
The convention which serves as a workshop for 'Centre for Innovations in Green Pathways', under NGHM, will end on November 9.