NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday partially lifted the ban on construction activities in the Delhi-NCR area, allowing construction work to carry on from 6 am to 6 pm every day. This comes even as the air quality in the national capital remained in the "very poor" category for the sixth consecutive day on Monday as cold weather and calm winds allowed accumulation of pollutants.
As on 5 pm on Monday, the air quality index (AQI) in the national capital was at above 300, which denotes 'very poor' category
Taking into account the report of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the SC permitted construction activities during the day while maintaining that the ban would remain intact during the night.
The top court also directed Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh to submit a report on the stubble burning in each state by December 11.
A bench comprising justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta was informed by Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni that the Centre had constituted a high-level committee in pursuance of the apex court's direction to examine the feasibility of using technology like smog towers to combat air pollution.
Earlier in November 2019, the apex court had imposed a ban on all kinds of construction work in view of the rising pollution levels in the national capital. The apex court had said that the dust emanating from construction sites was one of the major internal contributors to air pollution in the capital.
The top court also said that a fine of Rs 1 lakh would be imposed if anyone found violating the order.
The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) had imposed a partial ban on construction activities during October 26-30 between 6 pm and 6 am as a measure to control deteriorating air quality, which had reached emergency levels on November 3.
From November 1 to 5, a complete ban was imposed by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) on construction activities as a measure to control deteriorating air quality, which had reached emergency levels on November 3.
Later on November 4, the Supreme Court directed that all construction activities in Delhi-NCR be stopped until further orders.
Delhi-NCR witnessed one of the worst smogs in 2019, with AQI hovering between 490 and 500. Schools were directed to remain shut in view of the rising pollution, and the Delhi government’s odd-even scheme was also brought into force.