The Delhi government has imposed an environment compensation penalty of Rs 50,000 on 38 major projects across the city for causing dust pollution. Officials said notices have been sent to all the projects. While a few of the projects have replied asking for ‘reconsideration’ of the compensation fee, 26 of them are yet to file their replies.
Out of the 100-odd inspections done in the Delhi, 38 were found flouting norms with regard to dust pollution, said officials. Sources said the Delhi Police returned the notice issued to it for an ongoing project.
A notice was also sent to the Supreme Court over a proposed additional building complex adjoining Pragati Maidan. The reply from the top court stated: “Coarse aggregate does not produce any dust, and sand cannot be kept covered for long as sand loaders keep feeding the mixer from the sand stack. Request for reviewing the compensation.”
The British School, which is undergoing modernisation in Chanakyapuri, has asked the government to reconsider the decision.
Officials said the environment department is collating figures from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and corporations, as well the penalties they are imposing on various types of environmental violations. They said the government has also decided to impose a dust penalty on batch-mixing plants. “There have been instances of dry mixing causing a lot of pollution. Many times, contractors do not use a green net to contain dust particles. The fine has been kept high as it would instill fear in people,” said officials. The figures are of last one-and-a-half months said officials.
The government has also decided to start a WhatsApp group on which instances of open burning of garbage can be reported. “For projects above Rs 20,000 sq m covered area, environmental clearance is required. The DPCC is responsible for this. For projects between 400 and 20,000 sq m, the respective agencies will collate data and impose the fine,” added the official.
Sub-divisional magistrates now have power to issue challans
The Delhi government has issued a notification giving sub-divisional magistrates the authority to challan those causing pollution. Officials said that earlier, it was the prerogative of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to challan units causing any type of pollution.
Officials said in April, the environment department suggested that SDMs be given more powers as they are the government’s eyes and ears on the field. The suggestion came after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) issued orders to levy environment compensation fee on those causing air pollution.
For construction and dust pollution, the fine is Rs 50,000 and penalty for leaf-burning is Rs 5,000. SDMs will go on rounds in their respective areas and inspect construction sites to see if any compost pit is dug or leaves are being burnt in the open.
An official said teams have been formed at district levels and they will submit their weekly reports to the government. The government will review the reports on December 10.