Presently, 55 projects for forest clearance and one project for environment clearance are pending in these states including Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Jammu and Kashmir and North Eastern States.

"56 proposals under Forest (Conservation) Act 1980 and 11 projects under Environment Impact Assessment Notification 2006 for roads and public utility sectors were granted clearances during the last one year in states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Jammu and Kashmir and North Eastern States," Minister of State for Environment Prakash Javadekar told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

"As on date, 55 projects for forest clearance and one project for environment clearance are pending from these states," he said.

He said his ministry was aware of the importance of developmental works in critical and sensitive border areas and accordingly it has taken steps to "simplify and expedite" the process of granting clearances.

Elaborating on the measures, the minister said under the Forest Conservation Act 1980, grant of general approval for construction and widening of two lane roads and by BRO in area falling within 100 kms aerial distance from LAC, while similar has been done for widening of roads by BRO as link roads between border roads in the area within 100 Kms of LAC has been given.

The ministry has given relaxation to strategic projects in border areas being taken up in the area falling within 100 kms aerial distance from LAC to raise and maintain compensatory afforestation over an equivalent degraded forest land instead of double the degraded forest land apart from constitution of working group to review forest, wildlife and environment clearances.

He said general approval has also been given to 13 categories of public utility projects including construction of bridges, involving forest land not more than 1 ha and felling of not more than 50 trees.

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