Construction Banned In NCR As Air Quality Worsens
Terming Delhi's air quality as hazardous, the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) on October 27 announced a blanket ban on construction work in the national capital region (NCR) till November 10.
Delhi's air quality continued to remain in the “very poor" category on October 29 as a thick haze engulfed the city. Authorities have attributed the deterioration of air quality to localised factors such construction activities and vehicular pollution as well as regional factors such as pollution by stubble burning from neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana.
Between November 1 and 10, Delhi’s air quality will be at its worst ushering in pollutants from crop burning, the meteorological department has confirmed. Besides the blanket ban on construction and allied jobs, police personnel would also be on the look-out for polluting vehicles. Night patrolling, especially in pollution hotspots and industrial areas, would be tightened.
Industries that run on coal and biomass have also been asked to temporarily shut down its operations between November 4 and 10.
At an individual level, the officials have warned morning-walkers to avoid running/jogging in during the first ten days of November. Strenuous activity is also to be avoided. Delhiites have also been asked to keep their doors, windows facing the main road shut at all times.
In 2017, Delhi's killer smog hung thick over the city skies, also branching out to parts of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab. This forced authorities – the Supreme Court, the Centre and states – to spring on their feet and try and find out ways to address the menace. Among the various measures, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned construction and industrial activities and entry of trucks in the national capital till a certain date while Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana were asked to ensure that no crop residue is burnt.
Construction work was also put on hold temporarily but it was made sure that daily wage labourers were compensated. However, the industry body, Credai expressed displeasure at this move. At a time when project delays cost real estate dearly, measures such as this added to the existing delay. According to the body, crop burning in the neighbouring states and strategic landscaping would put an end to this menace. Nevertheless, a temporary ban on construction looked inevitable.
Ban on diesel trucks that were over 10 years old, ban on industrial activities that caused emissions, odd-even rule for vehicles, regular cleaning of roads with vacuum cleaners, hike in parking fee, temporary discontinuance on diesel generator sets were some of the other steps.
In 2016, the Delhi government also recovered approximately Rs 2 crore as penalty from those who were violating dust pollution norms since November 2015, and the NGT directed that these penalties could be levied on individuals to the tune of Rs 5,000 per person or up to Rs 5 lakh on developers for violating dust pollution norms.
With inputs from Housing News