Lucknow (JPN/ Bureau): The Ganga Expressway project, ambitious plan of the Mayawati government, hits roadblock owing to environmental hazards.

In a major setback to the 1047km-long Greater Noida-Ballia Expressway, the State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (EIA) has refused to give clearance to the dream project of the UP government.

Recently, the EIA, in its information to the JP Ganga Infrastructure Corporation, reported that giving environmental clearance to the project is not under the jurisdiction of authority.

With non-clearance by the authority, the fate of eight-lane Expressway, to be constructed on an embankment on the left side of the Ganga, is to be decided by the Ministry of Environment. Going by the tough stand of the Ministry on Lavasa Project and Adarsh Society issue, the path of the Expressway seems to be full of hurdles.

The reason cited for not giving the environmental clearance by the authority is that the Ganga Expressway would traverse through those regions which are amongst the country’s most critically polluted cities. The Centre has currently put a hold on all the major projects coming within the range of 10 kms of the areas.

Further action on the projects is only possible under the provisions of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) -2006. Such projects under EIA are considered to be in the ‘A’ category whose approval can just be given by the Union Ministry of Environment. Based on the Environmental Pollution Index, over 88 such critical areas are identified across the country out of which 12 are in the state alone.

The State Pollution Control Board has been making time-bound action plans so as to improve the conditions of the polluted cities. Until such action plans get a green signal from the Centre, there would be no approval of new projects in these regions.