Construction Sites in Delhi-NCR Ignore GRAP-3 Restrictions, Resulting in Poor Air Quality and Dust Pollution, ET RealEstate

December 31, 2023
2 mins read
no cover no sprinkling grap 3 bites the dust at construction sites in gurugram


GURUGRAM: Air quality is down to poor and restrictions under stage 3 of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) are currently in place across Delhi-NCR, but it’s business as usual at most construction sites in the city.

All construction, barring some public infrastructure and defence projects, has to stop when GRAP-3 is invoked to improve air quality.

But, on Thursday, workers – most of them without masks – were spotted layering bricks, mixing cement, and hammering plants to build houses and some larger commercial buildings.

Areas where construction appeared to be completely unchecked — Udyog Vihar, Sushant Lok, Mahavir Vihar and sectors 28 and 44 – were reduced to dust bowls. Measures that are mandatory even without GRAP in place, such as insulation with green sheets, sprinkling of water and covering trucks carrying construction material, were not being followed. And buildings, trees, roads and cars, all in sight, were coated with dust.

Asked about the ban, a construction worker in Udyog Vihar-3 said he wasn’t aware of it. “We have not received any orders. If there is a ban, then the officials should have come here and stopped us,” he said.

He told TOI that his contractor had provided the workers with a mask last year, but “that wasn’t in a condition to be used any more”. He said he knows of dust control measures but “it’s difficult to follow the norms all the time”.

Trucks were also seen arriving and departing from the construction sites, carrying sand and bricks, uncovered – another rule that was ignored. In Sushant Lok-1 and Sector 28, construction waste was dumped along a roadside and some workers were busy grinding stones in the open.

Residents living in proximity to such sites complained that dust pollution was a perpetual problem for them.

“All lanes are covered in dust, no matter which season of the year it is. Nobody cares about residents’ health. Officials from civic bodies don’t visit the sector to even check if construction activities have been stopped in compliance with GRAP orders,” said Madan Yadav, who lives in Sushant Lok-1, where a nearby house was being renovated.

A resident of Sector 28, Jai Prakash said construction goes on till late night in the area. “Even this is a violation of norms. There are buildings where more floors are being constructed and they don’t use any sheets to stop dust from dispersing,” he said.

GRAP is enforced by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) to cut down emissions when air pollution touches hazardous levels in Delhi-NCR. Civic authorities and state pollution boards are supposed to monitor and issue penalties against those found violating GRAP norms.

The city’s 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) was poor (219) on Thursday, and it worsened to 267 on Friday. Pollution levels were the highest at the Teri Gram and Sector 51 monitoring stations, which cover areas such as Golf Course Extension and other residential and commercial hubs of the city.

A Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) official said they have been issuing fines. “We can act against construction sites that are larger than 20,000sqm. Smaller sites are to be monitored by MCG. Civic agencies have been asked to sprinkle water on roads to mitigate dust pollution,” said Vijay Chaudhary, HSPCB regional officer.

An MCG official said the corporation was carrying out random inspections. “We are issuing challans wherever we see any GRAP violations,” the official said. Between October 1 and December 27, both the pollution board and MCG have issued 47 challans amounting to fines of Rs 6.3 lakh for violating the construction ban.

Haryana had last year launched an online portal for real-time monitoring of pollution levels, but only 344 of the 2,500 estimated large construction and demolition sites have registered on it till now. Even among the registered ones, just 51 provide data on pollution levels and have video cameras installed.

  • Published On Dec 30, 2023 at 09:10 AM IST

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