The problem of dust in under-construction societies

When Ravi chose to buy flat in first phase of an under-construction society, he didn’t quite know whats coming. Having bought the flat in first phase, he was still fortunate enough to get possession of his flat, delayed yet sooner than others. But it was beginning of a livability crisis for him. He moved to his flat along with his family and was greeted with the a puff of dust rising up from under-construction towers towards his house every time a steady breeze would blow. Within months of moving in, his child became a bronchitis patient, thanks to the air polluted by dust. He kept praying to builder all this while but apart from some name sake measures, builder didn’t take this up on priority. It is a couple of years already since he moved but construction completion is not in sight yet and dust in under-construction area is far from over.

What Ravi is facing today is getting extremely common in under-construction societies. Although more prominent on lower floors, higher floors are not insulated from this problem either as winds tend to move from bottom to top when hindered. We live in a developing world and our cities are growing. With the construction frenzy our cities are going through, the environment bodies have a big role to play. NGT (National Green Tribunal) is the central body in our country formed in 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection.

Chronology of directions by NGT on private developers causing dust pollution

In 2015 April and 2016 Feb, NGT directed concerned authorities (state and central) to impose a fine of 50k for builders causing dust pollution.

Later in July, 2016, it directed that builders constructing more than 20,000 square meter will have to impose a fine of 5L for causing dust pollution and flouting environmental norms.

Yesterday, DTCP (department of town and country planning) Gurgaon (Gurguram) asked its field officers to issue notices to private developers if they don’t following guidelines issued by the NGT for dust pollution.

What you can do?

  1. Ask the builder to immediately stop construction and put measures in place to stop dust pollution before restarting construction.
  2. NGT in April, 2015 had directed that Builders shall put tarpaulin sheets around area of construction. Builders vehicles used for transportation of building material shall be properly cleaned and covered before it is permitted to ply on the roads. Ask builders to strictly follow the same.
  3. NGT in April, 2015 had also directed builder to create green belt by planting trees near under-construction areas.
  4. If still unsatisfied, individuals can write to NGT at ngt.admn@gmail.com. However, these are not dealt as formal complaints by authority.
  5. For filing complaints, individuals may use this link http://pgportal.gov.in/GrievanceNew.aspx and select Environment ministry for concerned ministry.
  6. If there is no remedy offered yet, you need to file a written application seeking compensation for environmental damage after visiting NGT office at Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi.
    If complaint does not seek compensation, a fee of Rs. 1000/- is to be paid. In case where compensation is being claimed, the fee will be one percent of the amount of compensation in addition to Rs. 1000/-
  7. Avoid children movement in and around under-construction society especially during windy and foggy season.
  8. Buy and cover balconies temporarily with agro-shades. It should typically cost around 2 to 2.5 k for covering 2 balconies.

 

Last updated: April 10, 2017 at 14:09 pm

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