E-way projects, metro work suspended to curb pollution in Ghaziabad
The move comes after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday termed the persisting pollution scenario an ‘environmental emergency’ and directed for action on an 18-point agenda by different agencies in Delhi-NCR.noida Updated: Nov 10, 2017 22:06 IST
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on Friday temporarily stopped the ongoing work on two of its major projects in Ghaziabad — the Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE) and the Delhi-Meerut Expressway (DME).
The move comes after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday termed the persisting pollution scenario an ‘environmental emergency’ and directed for action on an 18-point agenda by different agencies in Delhi-NCR.
However, a number of vehicles were seen transporting soil and other material, billowing huge amount of dust near NH-24, on the Dasna-Masuri stretch of the EPE project.
The EPE site in Dasna has been marred by heavy pollution due to the project, which is being constructed to reduce pollution in Delhi-NCR.
“The dust from the construction work is a regular feature and poses issues for residents. Moving on the road seems like passing through a corridor of dust. The NH-24 stretches near Dasna and Morta are also affected by dust due to the construction,” said Satendra Raghav, a resident of nearby Govindpuram.
The EPE stretches for 24.5km in Ghaziabad and passes through 16 villages. NHAI officials later said that the work has been stopped, as per NGT directions.
“We have stopped work at the site in Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar, and also taking up steps such as sprinkling water to reduce dust,” said AK Jain, project director, EPE.
The 135 kilometre-long EPE is being constructed to connect Palwal, Gautam Budh Nagar, Ghaziabad and Baghpat to Kundli and later, Kundli to Palwal via Manesar. The two projects form a loop around Delhi-NCR and will be used by commercial vehicles to bypass Delhi.
Officials attached to the EPE project said that stoppage of construction activity will cost them an estimated Rs 6-7 crore, in daily operating expenses. Officials said they may move NGT to get relief.
“Apart from the operational losses, we have nearly 15,000 workers attached to the project. Once the project stops, it becomes very difficult to stop labour from moving away. Bringing back the labour also causes further delay,” an official said.
Officials attached to the DME project also said that they have stopped work on the second phase of the project following NGT directions. “We had awarded the work and it was started. Now, after NGT directions, we have stopped all construction activities,” said RP Singh, project director, DME.
The second phase of the DME project pertains to the widening of the existing NH-24 and construction of expressway lanes from UP Gate to Dasna in Ghaziabad, a stretch that spans nearly 19 kilometres.
In December 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for the 74 kilometre-long project and upgrading the 22 kilometre-long Dasna-Hapur section of NH-24, under the DME project.
Meanwhile, work on the 9.41km stretch of metro extension in Ghaziabad has also been suspended.
“We have stopped construction activities on all corridors of the metro, including the 9.41km Ghaziabad stretch, till further orders,” a spokesperson of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation said.