CAQM to follow a phased approach in respect of opening the construction sector considering the air quality scenario in NCR

New Delhi : The Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) in furtherance of Direction No. 44 dated 16/11/2021 and its Order dated 27.11.2021 directs with immediate effect that Construction and Demolition (C&D) activities shall not be allowed in NCR, except for the following categories of projects:

 

(a)        Railway services / Railway stations;

(b)        Metro Rail Services including stations;

(c)        Airports and Inter State Bus Terminals (ISBTs);

(d)        National security/ Defence related activities/ projects of national importance;

(e)        Hospitals/ nursing homes / health care facilities;

(f)        Linear public projects such as highways, roads, flyovers, over bridges, power transmission, pipelines etc.;

(g)        Sanitation and public utility projects like sewage treatment plants, water pumping stations etc.;

(h)        Ancillary activities specific to and supplementing the above categories of projects.

 

Further, the above said exemptions are subject to strict compliance of the C&D Waste Management Rules, dust prevention/ control norms including compliance with the directions of the Commission issued from time to time in this regard.

As per the report of IIT Kanpur (2016) namely “Comprehensive Study on Air Pollution and Green House Gases in Delhi”, construction and demolition activities in Delhi are frequent and “this source is the third most contributor to area source emission in PM10 and importantly it is a consistent source all through the year”. Additionally, the study estimated that the emission load from C&D activities in Delhi is 5167 kg per day and 1292 kg per day with respect to PM10 and PM2.5 respectively.

As per “Source Apportionment of PM10 and PM2.5 of Delhi NCR for Identification of Major Sources”, study of August, 2018 prepared by Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), PM10 contribution from dusty sources (example – road, construction and soil dust) was significant in winter season ranging from 23 to 31 %.  Similarly, contribution of dusty sources PM2.5 in winter was 15% in Delhi-city as well as NCR Towns.

C&D activities in urban agglomeration of Delhi city and NCR are frequent, numerous and dispersed and dust from the construction and demolition activities is a major source of Air Pollution in the National Capital Region and contributes significantly to adverse PM2.5 and PM10 levels.

While the Commission’s restrictions are still in force to control air pollution from two other major sectors contributing to air pollution namely industries and transport and it is both advisable and desirable to follow a phased approach in respect of construction sector also considering the air quality in NCR.

Keeping in view the current air quality in Delhi-NCR, there is a need to exercise control on various sectors that significantly contributes to air pollution. Taking into consideration different studies that clearly show that C&D sites are a major contributor of air pollution across the NCR, the Commission if of the view that except for the above said exemptions, C&D activities should not be allowed in the NCR till further orders.

Since the current air quality index is within the ‘Very Poor’, it would not be advisable to allow the operations at all C&D sites. Based on air quality forecast and significant improvement in air quality, the decision will be reviewed further.

As per the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s Order dated 24.11.2021, States shall use the funds collected as labourcess for the welfare of constructions workers and provide them subsistence for the period during which construction activities are prohibited and pay wages notified under the minimum Wages Act for the respective categories of workers.