Govt punishes 13 repeat offenders for dust pollution

The Delhi government has penalised 13 repeat offenders, including DDA, for dust pollution with Rs 50,000 fine per day in the last fortnight.

As per a recent government order, the repeat violators of dust control measures are to be fined Rs 50,000 daily with warnings of shutting down the projects till they adhere to the environmental norms.

While the Delhi Pollution Control Committee has collected Rs 43 lakh for such violations, the department claims that the rule has proved to be effective as projects are now starting to comply with the norms.

Showing its seriousness towards tackling the issue of pollution through dust emission, the Environment Department had called a meeting of the 13 building construction agencies, which were found to be third-time offenders, and sensitised them about the problem on February 4.

The repeat offenders include Delhi Development Authority, National Institute of Fashion Technology, Airport Authority of India, and some private builders.

“We do not want this to seem like a revenue mobilisation exercise and tried to convey to these 13 companies that paying fine is not a solution and their projects could be shut down if they adhere to the norms and continued to pay the penalty. The response was positive and later they communicated that the guidelines are being followed and produced pictures regarding this.

However, it is yet to be verified by our inspection teams,” said Environment Secretary Ashwani Kumar.

Dust from construction activity is one of the main contributors to Delhi’s toxic air. Till now, the DPCC has fined 50 such projects (more than 20,000 square metre) this season and a large number of small projects.

According to the current environment impact assessment guidelines, storing of construction material on roads is banned, scaffolding around building is to be covered with tarpaulin, construction material must be covered on the site and also during transportation, and workers should be provided dust marks during their working hours.

Noting that dust emissions from rampant and unregulated construction activity, transportation of construction material, construction debris waste and mining activity could have “dangerous dimensions”, the National Green Tribunal had in April last year ordered its complete halt in Delhi and the National Capital Region, including Gurgaon and Noida, that does not adhere to the environment norms.

The bench had ruled that any owner or builder who violates regulations would be fined Rs 50,000.

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