Over ₹27 lakh imposed as fines for Grap violations in Noida

The Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) along with the Noida authority officials started joint inspections from Monday to ensure that all dust control measures are being followed, especially at construction sites.

Measures under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) are implemented in phases as the air quality worsens. The restrictions under various categories include curbs on construction sites, better waste management, transportation of garbage, and checks on stubble burning, cracker bursting, use of vehicles and industrial emissions among others. Construction sites have to ensure green cover at all sites and also have to cover the construction material kept at sites to ensure that there is no flying dust.

Around 9.5 lakh in fines was imposed on Monday at different sites while another 17.6 lakh in penalties was imposed on Tuesday. Maximum penalty, of 5 lakh, was imposed on the private contractor who constructed the Signature Bridge at Parthala Chowk for keeping construction material uncovered. Officials said industrial inspections were also done but no violation was observed.

Noida’s air quality index (AQI) was 254 on Monday, 242 on Tuesday and 269 on Wednesday, all in the ”poor” category, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Similarly, the AQI for Ghaziabad and Greater Noida were also in the “poor” category over the past three days.

“Every year, we find maximum violations in construction sites in Noida. They do not keep construction material covered and leave such material on the roadsides or dividers, causing dust pollution in the area. We have hardly any polluting industries in Noida, and those in the “polluting” category are usually in compliance of all environmental norms,” said Praveen Kumar, regional officer, UPPCB, Noida.

He added that the drive will continue for the next few months and all construction sites have to take corrective steps immediately. Officials said the construction work at Parthala Chowk is a big pollution concern as it is a long-term project and several dust-related complaints have already been made by residents in the area. Officials added that the contractor has been penalised for keeping construction material uncovered and not disposing of C&D waste properly.

The unseasonal rains across NCR, two weeks ago, had brought the AQI levels to an all-time low and it remained in the ”good” to ”satisfactory” categories for a period of five days. However, the air quality is again in the “poor” category since the past few days. Officials said depending on weather conditions, the air quality may not improve much from the current situation this winter.