Waves of dust emanating from construction sites and passersby moving with handkerchiefs to their faces may soon become history. The National Green Tribunal on Friday passed a slew of stringent directions related to the functioning of the real estate industry.
Noting that they have been operating in flagrant violation of the Ministry of Environment and Forest guidelines of 2010, which give instructions on how to protect the ambient environment while carrying out construction activities, NGT ordered all erring construction work in Delhi-NCR to be stopped forthwith.
The green court also imposed a hefty fine for anyone found to be on the wrong side of law. Any person, owner or builder found to be violating the order shall pay Rs 50,000 per default over construction activity at the site.
Non-confirmation as regards transportation of construction material in trucks without protective cover would invite a fine of Rs 5,000.
The NGT bench headed by Justice Swantanter Kumar ordered: "Every corporation or authority vested with the power of sanctioning plans for construction of any commercial, residential or even construction of small plots would (ensure) the builder strictly complies with directions contained in this order as well as the MoEF guidelines of 2010."
It added, "We make it clear that even if constructions have been started... but is being carried out without taking the preventive and protective environmental steps... the State Pollution Control Board or any officer of any department shall be entitled to direct stoppage of work."
Notices shall be issued to builders to put tarpaulin on scaffolding around area of construction, not storing construction material, particularly sand, on any part of the street, roads in any colony. Dust emissions from construction site will have to be controlled. Sprinklers must be compulsorily used at the site and wet jets in grinding and stone cutting. Builders must also put up green barriers and wind breaking walls around their sites.
Further, every builder will have to provide masks to his construction workers and those labourers involved in loading, unloading and carriage of construction material. "Every owner or builder shall (also) be under obligation to provide all medical help, investigation and treatment to the workers involved in the construction... (in the event of health issues) relatable to dust," the order added.
The bench pointed out that the Expert Committee it had constituted to collect samples from 36 different sites in Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh had reported significantly exceeding parameters.
Nitrogen dioxide was found to be 146-208 ìg/m3 in Faridabad against the prescribed standard of 84 ìg/m3. Particulate Matter 2.5 went up to 1284 ìg/m3 compared to prescribed standard of 60 ìg/m3 in Delhi. Carbon dioxide in Delhi was found to be 7.81 ìg/m3 over the set value of 2 ìg/m3.
The bench, on Friday, had some directions for the authorities too, "The corporations - DDA, HUDA, NOIDA, Greater NOIDA Authority - and all other instrumentalities of the state shall make all efforts to increase their 'tree cover'... Delhi shall take immediate step to enhance the capacity of its plant for reutilisation and recycling of Construction & Demolition waste.