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Air pollution: Builders? body moves SC; seeks lifting of ban on construction activities in Delhi-NCR

Satya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 5

Days after the Supreme Court reimposed ban construction activities in Delhi-NCR to check high levels of air pollution, a builders’ body has moved the top court seeking lifting of the ban on the ground that the order didn’t take into account the views of all stakeholders.

In its plea filed in the Supreme Court, Developers and Builders Forum said it’s aggrieved by the court’s order November 24 order to reimpose the ban on construction activities in the NCR, except non-polluting activities such as plumbing work, interior decoration, electrical work and carpentry.

A Bench led by CJI NV Ramana had also directed NCR states to use the funds collected as labour cess for the welfare of construction workers to provide them subsistence for the period during which construction activities are prohibited and pay to them wages notified under the Minimum Wages Act.

However, the Forum said the direction was issued without taking into account the views of all stakeholders and without differentiating between construction activities of various nature.

“The present blanket ban on all construction activities takes within its sweep even small constructions of residential and other units which can in no manner be said to be causing large scale pollution,” the Forum submitted.

The plea is likely to be mentioned for urgent hearing on Monday.

Citing a report prepared by Centre for Science amp; Environment, the Forum contended that the ntire construction activities ongoing in NCR constituted a meagre 6.7-7.9% of the entire pollution in the region.

“Other causes like vehicular pollution, industrial pollution, stubble burning, etc., are the major causes for the current health hazard, it submitted.

It said, “…even within the construction activities, admittedly the major contributors to pollution are the big commercial projects like multi-storey buildings, Central Vista project, Metro construction, construction of fly-overs and underpasses, etc.

“The share of residential construction is a miniscule percentage and when taken in light of the fact that construction overall contributes only 6.7-7.9% to the air pollution of NCR, makes the contribution of non-commercial construction almost negligible,” the Forum submitted.

“If big commercial and development projects which cause large scale pollution in the area are allowed to continue as projects of national importance, then there is no justification to ban the projects of the members of the Applicant (Forum) and such similar builders engaged in non-commercial construction and which are not causing any pollution,” it said.

The Forum contended that the “blanket ban has directly affected the livelihoods of large number of construction workers, supervisory personnel and other managerial staff who would be employed at such sites on a daily or monthly basis.

“At a time when the entire country is coming out of the pandemic, any such ban affecting the livelihoods of large number of citizens would have devastating effects on the society,” it submitted.

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