Welcoming the Supreme Court's decision to delink forest clearance from environment clearance for linear projects, K Venkatesh, chief executive officer & managing director, L&T IDPL says the governmnet now needs to tackle implementation challenges to improve outlook.
The SC on Tuesday gave an order delinking forest clearance from environment clearance for linear projects. The order is likely to benefit as many as 25 road projects and could facilitate investments of around Rs 25000 crore in the next fiscal according to reports.
"All these are steps in the right direction, but it needs to be followed up with implementation and with several other smaller steps that are needed to be taken at the state level," reiterates Venkatesh in an interview to CNBC-TV18.
Below is the edited transcript of Venkatesh's interview to CNBC-TV18.
Q: How positive could this Supreme Court ruling be for road builders in a material sense?
A: It is a step in the right direction. One has to see now how it will be interpreted and implemented for road projects. One has to follow it up with the other approvals which are at various stages for any forest clearance. In states where clearance for tree cutting is required, the procedure has to be speeded up.
All these are steps in the right direction, but it needs to be followed up with implementation and with several other smaller steps that are needed to be taken at the state level. At the state level, a lot of clearances are needed for tree cutting. There are Stage I clearances, Stage II clearances, so all these are procedural aspects which now need to be sorted out.
Q: This ruling is specific to road widening projects which amounts to about 24 projects that are currently in the system. For Larsen and Toubro (L&T), what would the impact be in terms of how many road widening projects you are involved in right now and hope to see relief on because of this ruling?
A: We have two large Maharashtra projects which are being widened from two lanes to four lanes. We have another project in Andhra Pradesh which is being widened from four lanes to six lanes. The Andhra Pradesh project is in a very advance stage of clearance, so most likely, the clearances will be through in about a month or two.
The Maharashtra projects are also in a fairly advance stage. The meetings have already been held with the Environment Ministry and the minutes are awaited. This decision particularly will help speed up the process. However, a few more reforms are needed at the state level itself. It includes clearances at the Pollution Control Board level as well as the forest clearance level for tree cutting. That will also help to speed up the process further.