Wildlife board gives in-principle clearance to stalled projects

A rule of the Ministry of Forests and Environment to not allow construction within 10 km radius of a wildlife sanctuary is causing hindrance to several projects in the city. With the total area of Chandigarh being 114 square km, proposals for new projects were falling within the ambit of this rule, thus leading to these being stalled.

At a meeting of the Wildlife Board held on Thursday, in-principle clearance was given to these projects. The proposals that had been hanging fire included a multi-level parking lot, 250-bed hospital at PGI, houses in various sectors to be constructed by the Chandigarh Housing Board under the employees' housing scheme, as well as houses for Economically Weaker Sections at Maloya. The final decision on the projects will be taken by the Centre. The Administration will be writing to the Centre for amendment to the rules.

The Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary is at present in the northern end of the city. A proposal to make an eco-sensitive zone has also been approved by the Administration and sent to the Centre for final decision. The distance from one end of the city to the other is around 10 km. The rule is now causing problems for most of the projects. The committee that has over a period of time inspected the site of the projects has observed that though the projects do not fall within the wildlife sanctuary, these are within a distance of 10 km.

The commercial area of Sector 17 may not have traces of wildlife. However, the multi-level parking lot proposed to be constructed in the sector is facing objection on this account.

Construction of housing projects by the Chandigarh Housing Board has also been stuck. Similar was the case with the housing scheme floated for the employees by CHB in Sectors 52, 53 and 56.

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