To ensure protection of ecologically sensitive areas and flora and fauna, the government has asked states as well as NHAI to avoid building highways through wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, unless absolutely unavoidable.
"To have minimum impact of highways on the protected eco-sensitive area, the implementing agency should consider to spare sanctuaries/national parks at the planning stage and wherever possible take a bypass/detour," Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said.
In a circular to National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL), Border Roads Organsiation and states, it said all necessary clearances should be obtained before constructing highways in such areas.
"If it is absolutely unavoidable, all necessary clearances required under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, Forest Conservation Act 1980 and Environment (Protection) Act 1986 should be obtained before any work is undertaken in such areas," it said.
The ministry said earlier also it had issued guidelines to avoid road alignment through national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, even if it required taking a longer route.