Environment Minister Gopal Rai stated that the ban on construction and demolition work has been lifted starting December 20, with strict monitoring and firm action against agencies violating 14-point guidelines, and that the Anti-Dust campaign will continue.
The ban on trucks entering Delhi has also been lifted, said Rai, adding that other measures like water sprinkling, Anti-Open Burning Campaign & PUC Checking will continue. He also said the Night Patrol will now monitor construction sites for overnight violations. The Environment Minister urged the people of Delhi to report violations of any of the anti-pollution guidelines via the Green Delhi App, and concluded by saying the city Government, together with the people, will take the fight against pollution forward.
If anti dust norms are not followed on the sites, strict action will be taken against them, the site can also be sealed, said Rai, adding that night patrol will now monitor construction sites for violations of the 14-point guidelines.
Addressing the trend of air pollution levels in Delhi, Rai said: “The pollution levels in Delhi had increased to a great extent post Diwali, reaching a very severe AQI of 500 which lasted for around a week. Keeping the serious pollution situation in mind, all construction and demolition works were banned in Delhi, and only activities of national importance were allowed to continue. All trucks that were entering Delhi, barring the essential services, were also banned. Schools, colleges, and other institutions were temporarily shut as well. Now we can see improvement in Delhi’s air quality and the AQI has not reached hazardous levels in the last ten days. The Commission for Air Quality Management has been authorised by the Supreme Court to take appropriate action after reviewing the applications submitted by several agencies in order to relax these measures, keeping the current situation in mind. Last week an application was received from the Education Department to reopen schools for students in class 6 and above as well as colleges. This was allowed by the CAQM and these schools and colleges are now open. The decision on reopening schools for up till class 5 is currently pending and appropriate action will be taken based on the CAQM’s conclusion.”
*Ban on construction-demolition work lifted but strict action ensured against agencies violating 14-point guidelines; anti-dust campaign to continue: Gopal Rai*
He continued, “The ban on construction and demolition activities is being lifted starting today. However, the 14-point anti-dust guidelines, which are in place to control pollution at construction sites, must be strictly followed by all agencies – be it private or government. If a construction company is found violating any of the 14 rules, firm action will be taken against the company and the site in question will also be sealed if needed. Hence, it is my appeal to all agencies concerned with construction and demolition work to not take unfair advantage or be careless now that the ban has been lifted. The upholding of the 14-point guidelines, which include surrounding the site with tin walls, setting up of anti-smog gun for sites measuring 20,000 plus square meters, spraying of water, covering areas with canvas, cleaning up after the entry/exit of supply trucks, and so on, are being constantly monitored by teams by DPCC, SDMs, and MCD. The Anti-Dust Campaign will hence continue as it is, and we will keep a close watch on agencies to ensure adherence of the 14-point guidelines.”
*Ban on trucks entering Delhi lifted; other measures like water sprinkling, Anti-Open Burning Campaign & PUC Checking will continue: Gopal Rai*
Shri Gopal Rai further informed, “The ban which was imposed on all trucks entering Delhi has been lifted as well. Initially we had permitted only essential services and CNG vehicles to enter Delhi as an exception, but now all trucks are permitted. The Commission for Air Quality Management has issued directions for all agencies carrying out construction work on land exceeding 500 square meters to register on the C&D Management portal. Most people have registered their projects on the site, however, a direction has been issued again for the remaining agencies so that monitoring can happen more efficiently. The water sprinkling measures which are being carried out by the PWD, MCDs and the Fire Brigade will also continue. The Anti-Open Burning Campaign will also continue for now, in addition to the PUC Checking Campaign. So it is my appeal to the people of Delhi that while some of the emergency measures we had taken to tackle pollution are now being relaxed, we still have to work towards improving the air quality in Delhi for which everyone’s cooperation is needed. In case anyone spots violation of any of the norms laid by the Delhi Government, I urge the people to alert the government via the Green Delhi App so that we can take appropriate action. Hence, we will together take our fight against pollution forward.”
*Night Patrol will now monitor construction sites for violations of the 14-point guidelines: Gopal Rai*
Responding to media’s pertinent questions, the Environment Minister said, “Several agencies had sent in their applications to lift the bans that were imposed, including truck associations, which were all sent across to the CAQM. There is no fixed time for the construction and demolition works – they may continue for 24 hours as long as they do not violate the 14-point anti-pollution guidelines we have imposed. The Night Patrol Teams will continue their work to keep a special overnight watch. We had set these teams up due to complaints of construction activities taking place at night despite the ban. So earlier the Night Patrol was working to see if any activity was taking place amid the ban, but now that the ban has been lifted, their work will entail monitoring whether the 14-point norms are being followed or not.”