NGT lifts ban on construction activities, allows entry of trucks in Delhi-NCR region as capital breathes easier

New Delhi: In a breather to real estate developers, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday lifted the ban on construction activities in Delhi-NCR after noting improvement in the city's ambient air quality, and allowed the entry of trucks to the national capital.

The green panel, however, refused to lift the ban on industrial activities causing pollution in the Delhi-National Capital Region.

"The prohibitory directions issued by the tribunal vide its previous two orders particularly in relation to construction activity would stand vacated."

 NGT lifts ban on construction activities, allows entry of trucks in Delhi-NCR region as capital breathes easier

A file image of vehicles plying through thick blanket of smog in New Delhi. Reuters

"All the other directions in relation to emission from the industries, burning of waste and crop residue shall continue to be enforced on the basis of precautionary principle," a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

The tribunal also directed the Delhi government and the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to submit their action plans on steps taken to curb pollution within two weeks.

"We make it clear if the action plan is not filed before the tribunal within two weeks from today, we will be compelled to pass coercive order including the imposition of exemplary cost."

"All the state governments, state pollution control boards, Central Pollution Control Board and Delhi government should have complete preparedness for the coming eventualities when the parameters of ambient air quality would be severe or hazardous," it said.

The NGT gave a green signal to the construction of the Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways but said no dust pollution should be caused.

"The Eastern and Western Express highways have already been permitted and are hereby permitted to continue their construction work but all construction activity should take all preventive and precautionary steps to ensure that they do not generate pollution by dust which is beyond the prescribed limits," the bench said.

The green body also noted that sprinkling of water has brought down the levels of pollutants in the ambient air.

"Thus, we direct all the governments ensure that such steps are taken in future without any hesitation in the interest of the environment and public health at large," it said.

The tribunal, which was scheduled to start proceedings at 11.15 am after the full bench reference on the retirement of Justice Dalip Singh, took up the matter at 10.30 am itself and passed the directions.

It had earlier refused to exempt women and two-wheelers from the Delhi government's odd-even vehicle rationing scheme and directed it to ensure that diesel vehicles over 10 years old be taken off the roads without delay.

The NGT stated on 11 November that it would not exempt women and two-wheelers from the odd-even vehicle rationing plan to tackle pollution.

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Updated Date: Nov 17, 2017 20:30:00 IST