SC allows construction in Delhi-NCR during day

New Delhi, Dec 9 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday partially lifted the ban on construction activities in Delhi-NCR. The apex court gave its nod to the construction activities between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. The 12-hour permission is based on the recommendations by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

The recommendation was made after the air quality improved from “severe” to “poor” in Delhi and Gurugram; and “very poor” in Ghaziabad and Noida on December 4.

The affidavit, filed by the CPCB in the court, said: “Presently, the situation is not being severe. The CPCB considers that partial ban could be in place for construction activities. However, no construction should be permitted during night”.

The pollution board contended that ban could be partially lifted by permitting the construction activities during day-time, subject to the criteria stipulated in GRAP (Graded Response Action Plan), wherein strict enforcement of rules for dust control in construction activities and closure of non-compliant sties is mandated in moderate to poor AQI (air quality index) areas.

“Further a ban on construction activities may be imposed by the Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority if ambient air quality levels persist in severe+/emergency category for 48 hours or more,” said CPCB in the affidavit.

As per the apex court direction the CPCB also carried out studies to ascertain the efficacy of “Anti Smog Gun” for pollution control in Delhi at Central Park Resorts (on December 1), Gurugram and Anand Vihar (on December 2).

The Centre informed the apex court that studies indicated that this technology is partially successful. A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said though it is partially successful, but it has utility in combating air pollution.

The Centre also informed the top court that as per its recommendation Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change has constituted a high-level committee including an IIT professor to assess the feasibility of technologies to control pollution in Delhi and NCR.

“The preliminary finding on the efficacy of the anti-smog gun has been submitted to this committee for further analysis,” it said.

The court has asked the Centre to get on board a representative from the Delhi government on this committee to further streamline the process.

The CPCB contended in its affidavit that the state pollution board should monitor the rules associated with mitigation of dust in construction and demolition activities.

“Under the GRAP, construction activities are stopped if air quality levels reach above severe or emergency, that is, when PM 2.5 and PM 10 concentration values reach 300 Ig/m3 or 500 Ig/m3 respectively and persists for 48 hours or more,” said the CPCB.

–IANS
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