New Delhi: The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has ordered Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and 25 other construction sites to “stop work” for failing to implement mandatory dust mitigation measures meant to check air pollution in the national capital. The work of construction sites will be allowed to start again after complying with dust control norms as prescribed by the Ministry.
The construction projects include three sites of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, four of the National Highway Authority of India, seven under the Delhi Public Works Department, two Delhi Development Authority sites and one each under the Delhi Jal Board and MTNL. Three under BSES and two projects of Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited were also suspended. The MoEF sent notices under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, to all the projects.
In the National Capital Region (NCR), dust is the second highest source of pollution and contributes significantly to the dip in air quality especially during winter months.
On January 25, the Ministry notified an amendment to the Environment Protection Rules, making it mandatory for all projects requiring clearances to implement dust mitigation measures. It also asked all major infrastructure agencies to implement dust mitigation measures by March 31 or face suspension of construction work.
According to Secretary Ministry of Environment and Forest C K Mishra, the had sent notices in first week of this month to stop construction-related work pertaining to 25 projects across Delhi-NCR.
We sent out very cordial letters asking major construction companies to comply with dust mitigation measures. Following that, we sent out 20-25 CPCB teams to check on projects. The teams came back with specific photographs, based on which notices were issued. Construction agencies need to show that they have complied with specific dust control measures, laid out in the notices, before the ministry will allow work to re-start.
– C K Mishra, Secretary Ministry of Environment and Forest.
Specifically, among the PWD projects, notices have been issued to stop certain works related to the construction of flyovers, drains, small bridges, culverts, footpaths, and the widening of the outer ring road.
The reasons range from “demolished material kept uncovered” to “dust emissions from digging of roads”.
In the Haiderpur-Badli Metro station site, road demolition for cable work has been stopped due to emission from road digging and open dumping of excavated soil.
At another site, construction work was stopped for open dumping and lack of windbreakers.
Earlier, Mishra had said that the MoEF was “deeply concerned” by the lack of dust mitigation measures and that it had requested major construction agencies to put in place measures, failing which work will be constrained or suspended.