Introduction

Loss of vegetation is one of the inevitable consequences of Highway Development. It is a time tested fact that the simplest and the most effective solution is to just grow trees. For, every tree grown not only contributes directly to the local environment, but also has a deep cascading effect of regeneration and propagation of the entire ecological processes. There is a need to follow the approach of “Green Corridor Development & Management”, rather than “Highways Development”. Apart from mitigating the environmental losses, road agencies must plan to enhance the aesthetics of the highways corridor from all possible angles. Highways should not be looked upon merely as a means of transportation, but as an integral part of eco-system and Socioeconomic milieu.

Medicinal Plantation along National and State Highways is the newest model for sustainable plantation. Like other trees, medicinal plants will help prevent soil erosion. However, these will also provide raw material for medicines, making them more valuable. Medicinal plantation along national and state highways would provide multiple benefits – development, beautification, medicinal benefits as well as promotion of biodiversity. These herbal roads would be developed along national as well as state highways that pass through the state and the herbal gardens along these roads would help in prevention of bacterial, air-borne and other diseases.

The Herbal Road Plan assumes more importance when the country grapples under Covid 19 pandemic. The Union Ministry of AYUSH has been batting for increasing the natural immunity since the early outbreak of COVID-19. The ministry had issued a notification listing some self-preventive measures which could be followed by people to boost their immunity, with special care towards respiratory health. These measures placed focus on medicinal plants like basil (Tulsi), cinnamon (Dalchini), dry ginger (Shunthi), Black Pepper (kali mirch), turmeric (Haldi) and mint (Pudina), which can help in overall improvement of health and prevent diseases to a certain extent. The herbal roads will be an extension of such medicinal plants, with the plants having known medicinal properties.

It is in this backdrop that the PIA takes up this massive programme of plantation of Fruit bearing, Shading and Medicinal Plants along National Highways and State Highways in Bihar State under its environment protection programme. The programme is proposed to be done in cooperation with Department of Forest and Environment, Government of Bihar, supported by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and sponsored by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd(ONGC) under its CSR programme. Medicinal Plantation will be supported by Ayusman Bharat Yojana, under National Medicinal Plants Board.

Key features of Green Highways Policy

  • Promote greening and development eco-friendly National Highway corridors across the country with participation of farmers, private sector and government institutions including Forest Department.
  • It will address the issues that lie in the road of development and pave the way towards sustainable development.
  • Objective: To reduce the impact of air pollution and dust by planting trees and shrubs along the National Highways. Medicinal plantation will cater to the local needs as well as save environment. They will act as natural sink for air pollutants and arrest soil erosion at the embankment slopes.
  • Stake holders: Contracts for greening highways will be given to NGOS, agencies, private companies and government organizations. These stakeholders will be responsible for the survival and health of trees.
  • Planting of trees in any particular area will depend on the soil suitability and climatic conditions.
  • Monitoring Agency: It will be responsible for monitoring the plantation status on continuous basis by carrying out the site visit for field verification to check survival, growth and size of plantation and maintenance of the same.
  • Performance audit of executing agencies will be regularly conducted by the agency on an Annual basis. New contracts will be awarded to the agencies based on their past performance audit.

Objectives

The Project Implementation Agency (PIA) shall plant following species as per specifications given there to meet the objectives of the plantation.

Plantation Pattern

The road landscape should be developed envisaging a holistic approach to the entire stretch. A concept should be evolved so as to maintain visual characteristics and uniformity in terms of landscape along the stretch. In the absence of uniform land availability for the plantations, different schemes may be worked out in tune with the local variations in the design. To achieve this, the entire stretch of the project corridor should be divided into homogenous landscape sections based on similarity in terms of available width, soil conditions, climate (temperature and rainfall) and topography. Depending on the available ROW, plantation pattern should be worked out as follows:-

  1. The first row along the Highways will be of small to medium sized ornamental trees.
  2. Subsequent rows depending on the availability of width will comprise of ornamental and/or shade bearing species, of more height than those in the first row. In rural sections the last row will always be of shade bearing tall trees.
  3. Planting of shrubs in the median.
  4. Planting of herbaceous species as ground cover in the median, special landscapes, and embankment slopes.
  5. Turfing with grass in the median, special landscapes, and embankment slopes.

Rural communities are often the most dependent on medicinal plants for livelihoods and primary healthcare needs. India’s wealth of medicinal plant species have been used in traditional Indian health systems like Ayurveda, Sidhha, Unani and Sowarigpa for millennia. It is therefore imperative to recognize the economic importance of medicinal plants and commit to utilizing this resource wisely for a better future.

Tree Planting along the Highways

The technical specifications for planting along the Highways are as follows:-

(i) Ornamental plants except last row

Distance from embankment1.0 mt. away from the toe of the embankment
Spacing between plant to plant3 mts.
Spacing between rows3 mts.
Size of the pits[Normal soil]60x60x60 cms
For Alkaline soil [Usar]By Augar
Water logged areasmounds with height varying depending on the water level
Species recommendedAs per govt guidelines
No. of plants per km333
Height of the plant1.5m to 2 m
Activity and time scheduleAs per govt guidelines

[ii] Shade plants (Last row):

Distance from the preceding row3 mts
Spacing between plant to plant12 mts.
Size of the pits[Normal soil]60x60x60 cms
Alkaline soil [usar]By Augur
Water logged areasMounds
Species recommendedAs per govt guidelines
No. of plants per km84
Height of the plantsmore than 2 mts.

Protection measures

The fencing of single row plantations will be done by using iron/brick/cement guards. Locally available bamboo guards or thorn fencing may also be used where protection can be ensured through these. The specifications for the iron guards are as per IRC-SP-21, 2009. The fencing of multiple row plantations will be done preferably by barbed wire. A five strand barbed wire fencing, with cross strands, stretched on angle iron poles fixed at a distance of 4 meter from one another; is recommended. Live fencing/bamboo fencing/thorn fencing may also be used where protection can be ensured through these. The specifications for barbed wire fencing are as per IRC-SP-21, 2009.

Submission of progress report as per following schedule:

The authorized representative of the Project Implementation Agency shall submit the report as per format with videography. RO of NHAI or authorized representative of MoRTH/NHAI shall carry out the site visit for field verification once every quarter to inspect survival, growth and size of plantation and maintenance of the same. The interim Quarterly Report is also to be submitted as per the following format within 15 Days from the end of quarter. The physical verification and recommendation of RO, NHAI for the release of fund in time to meet the expenditure of ongoing and necessary works and continuity is maintained. In this regard, the project specific Payment Terms & Conditions will also be ensured.

Equipment’s

The following equipment’s to be deployed by the plantation agency for the 10 km stretch- Tractor Trolley – 1

Truck mounted with water tanker (10000 lit) – 1 Tractor Attached with water tanker (5000-6000 lit) – 1

The PIA must produce the documentary evidence in support of his (owning/leased or rented) for the above equipment.

Rules and Regulations

  1. Species composition and plantation technique may change according to site requirement in terms of road alignment, soil type, and elevation of embankment, climatic variations and availability of area for plantation.
  2. Plant saplings for avenue, ornamental, shading planting will be provided free of cost from local govt nurseries. The Vendor will raise quantities of saplings at govt. nursery minimum 15(Fifteen) days in advance.
  3. Herbal or medicinal saplings shall be sponsored by Ayusman Bharat Yojana under Ministry of Ayush from regional herbal nurseries.
  4. Fencing will be sponsored by NHAI based on lowest local quotations. The quoted price should commensurate with NHAI standard costs for wired fencing.
  • The Project Coordinator of the plantation agency shall coordinate with the PD/RO of NHAI on regular basis about work proceedings.
  • Any manpower whether from within or without, deployed by the Plantation agency shall have no relationship with NHAI and Plantation agency alone shall be solely responsible for discharging various statutory obligations in regard to such manpower.
  • Any death or injury to any person deployed by Plantation agency shall be the responsibility of the Agency itself and NHAI shall not be responsible therefore and shall not be responsible for any liability whatsoever.
  • The Monitoring Team consisting NHAI or its representative and the plantation agency or its representative will settle disputes, if any, coming up during execution of project. The said team may suggest unforeseen changes incidental to successful and better implementation of the project.
  • The plantation agency may be allowed for construction of temporary huts, labour sheds, pipelines, water storage tanks etc., purely temporary in natures which are required for raising the plantations.
  • On duty, all staff of the executing agency are to wear distinctive standard jackets having company LOGO, with night visibility. They are to deal with public and hence should be well trained to be courteous and helpful.
  • Plantation agency will ensure that the survival of plants should be 90% at the time of handing over the plantation to NHAI. In case the survival is less than 90%, casualties will be replaced by the Plantation Agency at their own cost before handing over.
  • NHAI will maintain the plantation once it is handed over to them. Plantation agency will not be responsible for any damage of plantation, once it is handed over to NHAI.
  • If Plantation agency wishes to undertake maintenance work they may take up the maintenance works of the plantations on the mutually agreed terms and conditions at that point of time.
  • Plantation agency will not be responsible for any damage to plantation due to unforeseen natural calamities like cyclone, flood, severe drought etc.

Payment Structure

  • The PIA will pay Rs.20/- to Rs.25/- per plant to Vendors depending upon the saplings, soil quality and other related factors including all cost from procurement of plants free of cost from nursery, planting, watering, fencing, manuring to hand over.
  • Payment shall be released only after the physical verification and recommendation of PD/RO, NHAI in time to meet the expenditure of ongoing and necessary works and continuity is maintained. If NHAI team finds the plantation work not done according to the norms specified, they may hold the payment and take necessary action against the Vendor.
  • There will be no cost escalation due to increase in minimum daily wage rate announced from time to time by the Government of State or rise in rate of equipments or raw material.
  • The Vendors who work with competence and satisfaction shall be awarded with maintenance work of plantation work.

Payment Terms & Conditions

The project shall be awarded on a turn-key basis based on the quantum of plantation for the specific site and payment will be made as per terms and conditions prescribed in the Terms of Reference (ToR).

Duration: 6 Month Location: ALL OVER

BIHAR

For more details, contact-

Ph : +91 9304916746

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