In response to soaring air pollution levels in the Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) post-Diwali, enforcement authorities have taken decisive actions against violators, imposing penalties totaling at least Rs 1.2 crore on real estate builders for continuing construction activities in defiance of the imposed ban.
The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) activated stage IV of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) on November 5, implementing a comprehensive ban on construction activities, burning of garbage, and the operation of diesel trucks and other heavy vehicles. Earlier, on November 3, non-essential construction activities were prohibited under GRAP stage III. The severity of GRAP actions corresponds to four stages of pollution: Stage I – ‘poor’ (Air Quality Index 201-300); Stage II – ‘very poor’ (AQI 301-400); Stage III – ‘severe’ (AQI 401-450); and Stage IV – ‘severe plus’ (AQI above 450).
Authorities in Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad, and Gurugram have assembled inspection teams to monitor and address violations, with a particular focus on construction and demolition activities.
An official from the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) revealed that 14 teams have been deployed in Noida to ensure compliance with GRAP norms by real estate developers. The teams are actively checking for various violations, including burning of garbage, coal usage, and the operation of diesel trucks and BS IV diesel vehicles. The official, requesting anonymity, emphasized the strict implementation of pollution control measures, highlighting that penalties amounting to Rs 1 crore have been imposed on Noida builders alone for flouting pollution control norms.
In Greater Noida and Ghaziabad, nearly 200 construction sites have faced halts in activities, resulting in penalties totaling Rs 10 lakh to Rs 15 lakh against real estate developers for violating pollution norms.
The Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA) has formed eight teams to ensure compliance with pollution control norms, stopping construction at approximately 129 sites following the ban. Challans ranging from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 15 lakh have been issued against developers for pollution norm violations.
Gurugram has taken a proactive approach by establishing inspection squads and introducing a helpline for residents to report ongoing construction activities in their neighborhoods. The district town and country planning (DTCP) department, in response to complaints received, inspects sites and takes necessary actions. To date, penalties amounting to Rs 2.5 lakh have been issued against 10 developers in Gurugram. The DTCP has also issued advisories urging builders to adhere to pollution control guidelines.