DPCC fines govt departments, pvt entities Rs 2.25 crore for pollution
On a day the air quality plunged to ‘very poor’, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) imposed hefty environmental compensations on government agencies for failing to check rising violation of green norms.
The watchdog slapped a total of Rs 2.25 crore fine on government departments, municipal corporations and private entities and prosecuted a number of officials for allowing polluting activities to happen in their jurisdiction.
According to the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) directions, polluting activities such as dumping and burning of waste and open storage of construction material, among others, are prohibited.
The violations came despite emergency measures under the Graded Response Action Plan (Grap) came into force from Tuesday.
The action was taken after Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority chief Bhure Lal reported violations during an inspection of pollution hotspots in Mundka and Tikri Kalan in northwest Delhi.
The agencies that have been fined include the Public Works Department (PWD), Delhi Development Authority (DDA), North Delhi Municipal Corporation and South Delhi Municipal Corporation for allowing dumping and burning of plastic and rubber waste and failing to control dust emission.
During his visit to Mundka, the EPCA chief observed that the road between Peerhagarhi Crossing and Tikri border on National Highway 11 was all dug up, construction material and heaps of plastic were lying dumped on the roadside and clouds of dust could be seen in the air, said the action taken report prepared by DPCC.
“It seems mechanical sweeping has not been undertaken for long. This condition is contributing significantly in concentration of road re-suspension dust. A penalty of Rs 50 lakh has been imposed as environmental compensation damage on the chief engineer (North), Public Works Department, on Tuesday,” the report said.
The DPCC said it planned to take action against the chief engineer, PWD, and the senior engineer (Narela Zone) of North Delhi Municipal Corporation.
A senior PWD official said, “We follow all norms to the maximum extent. We are examining the penalties imposed and may challenge it.”
The pollution control body levied a fine of Rs 25 lakh each on the deputy commissioners of the north corporation’s Narela and West zones as well as the south corporation, after the SC-body found that the Urban Extension Road-2 towards Mundka industrial area was dusty and plastic and rubber waste was lying along the sides.
A North corporation official, who didn’t wish to be named, said, “We are yet to get the order copy. We’ll consider it once it reaches us.” A south civic body official said they will request DPCC to waive off the amount.
The EPCA chief also pointed out agricultural land near Mundka village had been converted into commercial area and huge godowns had come up around it.
“Since large portions of agricultural land are being converted into godowns in violation of the Delhi Land Reform Act and the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, the observations have been forwarded to the revenue department and civic bodies,” the report highlighted.
A penalty of Rs 50 lakh had been imposed on the executive engineer (SWD-9), DDA, for violation of construction and demolition waste rules at Bakkawal’s EWS housing project.
Despite repeated attempts, DDA officials could not be reached for a comment.