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Ahmedabad-Dholera Expressway: Environment panel blasts NHAI for faulty EIA report

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The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the Ahmedabad-Dholera Expressway project has come under fire of the environment ministry for the lackadaisical approach in which the EIA was prepared for submission. The EIA report was submitted by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and prepared by consultant M/s Enviro Infra Solutions Private Limited.

The committee of experts noted that the consultant has done very poor quality studies on biodiversity and ecology. In fact, it said that the checklists of flora and fauna that would be affected by the project were peppered with errors.

The committee also rejected the EIA report submitted by NHAI and asked the agency to file a reworked report.

Mistakes galore

The report submitted by NHAI was considered by the committee during its meeting on July 29-30. The committee pointed out several mistakes in the report and criticised the casual manner in which the EIA report has been prepared.

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Notably, the EIA report has listed American Bullfrog of North America, Western Rat Snake of North America, a common wall lizard found in Europe, and a scorpion species found in Mexico, whereas none of them are found in India.

What the experts committee said?

“Lithobates catesbeianus is listed in the EIA, which in fact is an American BullFrog that is found in North America. It is invasive in many countries but not found in India. Similarly, Western Rat Snake Pantherophis obsoletus is found exclusively in North America,” the expert panel noted at the meeting.

“Podarcis muralis (common wall lizard) is found in Europe and North America and not India. A scorpion species Typhlochactas mitchelli listed in (the) EIA is endemic to Mexico.  Such poor quality work not only reflects poorly on NABET Accreditation process, but also on NHAI for appointing such poor quality consultants,” the committee said.

NABET accreditation

The National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NABET) is a constituent of the Quality Council of India. It provides accreditation to schools, training course providers and auditors.

The EIA consultants, having NABET accreditation, are hired by project proponents for the preparation of reports for environment clearance.

Ahmedabad-Dholera Expressway Project

The proposed Rs 3,300 crore Ahmedabad-Dholera Expressway project is a greenfield highway project. It will a  four-lane expressway with a length of 109.019 km, under the Centre’s Bharatmala scheme.

 

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