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Supreme Court allows construction activities in Delhi-NCR from 6 am to 6 pm

Supreme Court allows construction activities in Delhi-NCR from 6 am to 6 pm
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The Supreme Court Monday partially lifted its ban on construction activities in the Delhi-NCR region, allowing them between 6 AM and 6 PM, after the...

New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court Monday partially lifted its ban on construction activities in the Delhi-NCR region, allowing them between 6 AM and 6 PM, after the Central Pollution Control Board said that air quality index (AQI) level is not severe at present.

The apex court, which had on November 4 stopped construction and demolition in Delhi-national capital region (NCR), perused the affidavit filed by CPCB which said however that no construction should be permitted during 6 PM to 6 AM. The CPCB said the ban could be partially lifted by allowing these activities during the day time subject to criteria stipulated in Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) which mandates strict enforcement of rules for dust control at construction activities and closure of non-compliant sites during moderate to poor AQI category days.

"Presently, the situation not being severe, CPCB is of considered opinion that partial ban could be in place for construction activities in as much as no construction should be permitted during night time (6 pm to 6 am)," said the affidavit, which was perused by a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta. "The ban imposed could be partially lifted by permitting activities during day time (6 AM to 6 PM), subject to the criteria stipulated in GRAP wherein strict enforcement of rules for dust control in construction activities and closure of non-compliant sites is mandated in moderate to poor AQI category and further a ban on construction activities may be imposed by EPCA is ambient air quality levels persist in severe plus/ emergency category for 48 hours or more," it said.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A N S Nadkarni told the bench that in pursuance of the court's November 25 order, the Centre has constituted a high-level committee, in which IIT experts are also associated, to examine the feasibility of using technology like smog towers to combat air pollution. Nadkarni said the committee has already held a meeting and is scheduled to meet next on December 11. "What about the use of technology? When will it be implemented?," the bench asked. The ASG said that after holding meeting, the committee would give its report to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).

"When should we be getting the report on smog towers? By Friday?," the bench asked. The ASG said he would file it by December 13. The bench said that secretaries for environment of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab should also be associated with the high-level committee so that they could sit together and come out with feasible solution on the issue. On stubble burning, the bench asked the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana to furnish before it the updated report up to December 11.

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