NEW DELHI: In view of the environmental concerns, the Delhi government’s Public Works Department (PWD) has constituted an Environmental Cell to monitor all construction activities in the city.
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests had ordered all states in early 2016 to take steps to manage construction and demolition waste and had notified rules which provided for setting up of such a cell. However, Delhi is late by almost a year and announced the panel last week.
The 11-member panel, which will comprise of environmental experts, engineers, architects and other specialists, will give environmental clearance to projects. The cell will maintain a database of all the applications received for building activities and give clearance within a period of 30 days. It will also conduct surprise checks. The cell will have the power to recommend to local authorities fines against violators for non-compliance of the laid down environmental norms.
The decision comes at a time when the national capital is reeling under the impact of dense smog, resulting in highly toxic air and low visibility. The Delhi government had slapped a fine of Rs 50,000 on more than 30 builders during a similar smog crisis last year. The NGT has banned all the construction activities in the capital till November 14th
Dust from continuous construction activity in the city and NCR has been identified as one of the major contributors to the pollutant PM10. The waste generated by construction and development is also becoming a cause of concern. An estimated waste of 4,500 metric tons is produced by such activities every day.
The PWD as well as eight other government departments/sectors had earlier agreed to set up climate change cell in their respective sectors whereby they would plan their future projects as per the guidelines of State Action Plan For Climate Change (SAPCC).
These departments include water, forest, energy, disaster, tourism, transport, agriculture and horticulture.
The state climate change wing had impressed upon the nine department about the significance of devising future policies and projects in accordance with the guidelines of SAPCC in order to mitigate the detrimental impacts of climate change.
11 Members will be part of the Environmental Cell set up by the Public Works Department to monitor construction activities in Delhi