Delhi should immediately outlaw any non-essential projects.

Delhi, the nation’s capital, has fallen into GRAP-3 as the quality of the air there keeps getting worse. In Delhi, it is currently illegal to perform any non-essential building or demolition work. Will the Delhi NCR region soon be subject to the construction ban? To find out how this change affects the city’s project deliveries, keep reading. 

When smog is visible outside the window, history continues. Even though GRAP went into effect on October 1, 2023, the builders didn’t take any precautions on the construction sites. The authorities in Delhi NCR have prohibited non-essential construction activities due to the growing pollution problem. Continue reading to learn how this rise in pollution will affect the city’s construction sector.

The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) made grim predictions at a recent meeting of the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM): unfavorable weather patterns will lead to an increase in pollution levels in Delhi NCR. On November 2, 2023, Delhi’s AQI of 402 was considered “severe” for air quality. 

Not only is the construction industry impacted, but schools are as well. Moving to online learning is now recommended for schools. Additionally, the capital has prohibited the entry of light commercial vehicles and diesel trucks. 

The nation’s capital is now using the Central Government’s GRAP-3 (Graded Response Action Plan) and has activated countermeasures for the category of “severe” air quality. 

What are the stages of GRAP? 

To monitor air pollution levels, Delhi NCR uses a set of procedures called the GRAP. Generally speaking, it consists of four phases based on the region’s consistent AQI.

Stages of the Graded Response Action Plan 

The AQIAreaLevels of GRAP 
201-300Poor Stage 1
301-400Very Poor Stage 2
400-450SevereStage 3
450 and above Severe PlusStage 4

Millions of people’s health is at risk due to the unsettling smoky haze that blankets Delhi NCR every winter. The air continues to pollute despite interventions, with AQI levels regularly exceeding the safe limit. It is important to remember that any AQI value above 60 is considered hazardous to health. 

October 2022 was a comparable month. The area’s AQI average was minimal during the final week of October 2022, but after November 1, 2022, the smog level rose to the “severe” category. On December 4, 2022, however, due to worsening air pollution, the authorities imposed a three-day restriction. Officials emphasized the significance of following dust control regulations even after the ban ended.

Specifies the GRAP-3 limitations 

The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) has responsibility for Stage 3 of the GRAP, which includes these strict guidelines. At this time, it is illegal to do the following: 

  • Digging, filling, boring, and drilling are examples of earthwork
  • From fabrication to demolition, structural construction tasks
  • Construction material movement, including loading and unloading
  • The raw material shipment that includes fly ash
  • Moving cars on unpaved surfaces
  • Infrastructure projects like installing waterlines and sewers
  • Flooring projects utilizing stones, tiles, etc. 
  • Grinding, painting, waterproofing, etc. 

However, projects of railroads, metro, national security, and defense were exempt from the ban. 

Actions taken to rescue pollution in Delhi 

On November 1, 2023, Environment Minister Gopal Rai declared that the Delhi government had decided to prohibit diesel buses from the NCR States from entering the city. These days, the only buses that are allowed to operate legally are those that comply with BS-VI, run on electricity or run on CNG. 

Government departments in Delhi have instructed their security personnel to get heaters so they will not have to burn fuel wood in the cold winter months. The purpose of this action is to lessen the impact of burning wood on the environment and to provide an alternate source of heat. 

What effect might a construction ban have on Delhi NCR’s reality?

In the Delhi NCR, including Greater Noida West, Yamuna Expressway, New Gurgaon, Noida Expressway, Dwarka Expressway, Central Noida, Greater Faridabad, Raj Nagar Extension in Ghaziabad, Sohna Road, and Golf Course Extension Road, more than 4.5 lakh residential units are currently under construction. And the total number of units in these areas is over 4 lakh. 

According to an industry report, a construction ban due to air pollution could be a severe setback to ongoing projects since residential projects in Delhi NCR typically take 6-8 years to complete. A halt to construction due to poor air quality might have serious consequences. It can delay a project at least three to four months if construction activity is for one month. 

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