New Delhi: Green hurdles have delayed 21 highways projects in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

"Our 21 projects are awaiting green clearances from Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for long. These relate to widening of roads in crucial sections including Ahmedabad-Vadodara, Delhi-Agra and Lucknow-Raibareli...We are pursing the matter with MoEF," as per an official record of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH).

 The document said the delay is mainly on account of linking the environment clearance with forest clearance and condition of obtaining no objection certificate from Gram Sabha of the concerned village under the Forest Rights Act.

 It said the MoRTH has taken up the matter with MoEF and was hopeful of clearances to projects. The process for green clearances have been started for some of the projects on receipt on no objection certificate under Forest Rights Act.

It, however, added that there was no cost escalation on account of delays in green approval as the projects were being implemented under build, operate and transfer (BOT) mode.

The states where the projects are delayed include Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Kerala.

Among the projects pending include Panchkula-Haryana section on NH 73 in Punjab/Haryana, Patna-Buxar section on NH 30 and 84 in Bihar, Jhalawar to Biaora on NH 12 in Rajasthan, Ranchi-Rargaon section on NH 33 in Jharkhand and Lucknow-Sultanpur section in Uttar Pradesh among others.