New Delhi: Aggrieved over the rise in air pollution due the dust emanating from constructing and mining work, the National Green Tribunal on Friday cracked the whip on construction companies/builders/owners asking them to pay a “compensation” of Rs. 50,000 for not following environmental norms.
This fine will be levied on construction companies under the “Polluter Pays” principle. Also, the violator would be liable to pay Rs. 5,000 for each violation during transportation of construction material, debris by trucks or other vehicles.
As per the NGT order, any plan for commercial or residential construction, howsoever small, will now be sanctioned only after an undertaking by the builder or owner that he/she will comply with all the norms to not cause pollution and also provide masks to labourers working at the construction site.
An NGT bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar directed the government of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and also the development authorities to shut all construction that is being carried out without proper handling of construction material and in violation of the order of the Tribunal and the guidelines of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).
“Just shut it. Shut all the works,” said the bench to the authorities representing the State of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh for construction being carried out in Noida and Gurgaon. It also directed the Delhi government to enhance the capacity of its plant for reutilisation and recycling of construction waste.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and other government agencies were also directed to comply with the order.
“Needless to mention that the Delhi Metro is carrying out huge construction activities in Delhi. Its public benefit and public importance cannot be denied, but still they are required to ensure that they do not cause any air pollution. Therefore, we direct the Delhi Metro and any other government or private construction agency engaged in massive construction project that they will strictly adhere to construction activities in terms of this order and the guidelines contained in MoEF guidelines, 2010.”
The bench was of the view that it is the “social and corporate responsibility of all the builders to carry out construction or mining activity strictly in accordance with the prescribed rules and ensure that for small economic gains they do not expose the public, including their purchasers and workers, to serious diseases and adversely affect the public health at large.”
Meanwhile, the Tribunal also heard the issue of decongestion of Lajpat Nagar and directed that jersey barriers be placed on both ends of the road to avoid any space for vehicles to intercept the traffic.
On South Delhi Municipal Corporation informing the bench that a space has been earmarked near Lajpat Nagar for a hospital, the Tribunal wondered why a parking space could not be made there since the area already had best of medical facilities such as AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital.
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