Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 9
As air quality index (AQI) showed improvement, the Supreme Court on Monday partially lifted the ban on construction activities in Delhi-NCR region and allowed such activities from 6 am to 6 pm.
A Bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Deepak Gupta modified its November 4 order banning all construction and demolition activities in NCR after the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said AQI level was no more severe.
The Bench, however, agreed with the CPCB that no construction should be permitted after 6 pm till 6 am. In its affidavit filed in the top court, the CPCB had said the ban could be partially lifted in terms of criteria stipulated in Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) that mandated strict enforcement of rules for dust control at construction sites and closure of non-compliant sites during moderate to poor AQI days.
Additional Solicitor General ANS Nadkarni told the Bench that in terms of the court’s November 25 order, the Centre has constituted a high-level committee, which included IIT experts, to examine the feasibility of using smog towers to check air pollution. The panel has already held a meeting and was to meet again on December 11, he said.
On the issue of stubble burning, the Bench asked the Centre to include environment secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh in the high-level committee and submit a report by December 11 and posted the matter for further hearing on December 16. It also asked the DMRC to place a plan to de-congest traffic at metro stations.
The affidavit said “under GRAP, construction activities are stopped if air quality levels reaches severe plus or emergency category i.e. when ambient PM2.5 or PM10 concentration value reach 300 micrograms per cubic metre or 500 micrograms per cubic metre respectively and persists for 48 hours or more.”
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