In the rush to complete housing projects,environment seems to be the last thing on the Delhi Governments mind. The State Environment Advisory Council (SEAC) has asked two major housing projects to stop construction work as environmental clearances had not been accorded to them.
A Rs 44-crore Narela housing project by the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation,DSIIDC,for industrial workers and a Delhi Development Authority,DDA,mega housing project in Vasant Kunj have started work without the clearances being in order.
In the case of the Narela project,the SEAC has found that arsenic levels are dangerously high in the area causing a threat to public health. The DDA,meanwhile,has started work on a Vasant Kunj housing complex for high,middle and low income groups.
While further studies on arsenic need to be conducted for the Narela project,the SEAC has asked both the DSIIDC and the DDA for written explanations as to why construction work was started without the requisite clearances.
In an assessment,the SEAC found that arsenic,(which is a poison) was found in unacceptable levels in the groundwater in Narela. It was also found that contamination through other trace metals was also very high. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) is now likely to carry on elaborate testing.
As soon as we are formally asked,we will conduct tests for arsenic contamination. The question that needs to be raised is what is the source of the arsenic? Where is it coming from? said M K Ambasht,DPCC chairman.
Construction work on both projects has started,but the DDA project is more advanced. We would like to know how the work has started with the assessments on health and environment still pending, an SEAC member said. After these agencies re-submit information,we will consider the projects again, he said.
The SEAC has said that if the Narela project is cleared,it should be a completely eco-friendly project. It should have rainwater harvesting pits,installation of an organic waste converter and zero discharge of effluents at sites. The project,worth Rs 44 crore,is supposed to be built over 55,000 square metres.
Similarly,the SEAC has said that the Vasant Kunj building should also have rainwater harvesting and waste treatment systems.