BMC commissioner asks stakeholders to ensure strict adherence to guidelines, violations to result in stop work
Geetanjali Minhas | October 21, 2023 | Mumbai
With Mumbai’s Air Quality Index (AQI) hitting 300 this week and surpassing the worst levels of the national capital of Delhi, the city has been engulfed by thick smog posing serious threat to respiratory health of citizens.
In an urgent meeting with the stakeholders/ executing agencies held on Friday, the BMC commissioner and administrator, Iqbal Singh Chahal, said new SOPs/guidelines to be issued by Monday, October 23 will have to be complied with to bring down pollution levels in the city.
A number of large-scale infrastructure projects are under way in the city, such as Mumbai Metro lines, Coastal Road, Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, Bullet Train Station at BKC and a new bridge at Ghatkopar on Eastern Express Highway, in addition to several real estate projects. Construction is going on at around 6,000 locations with the city dug up at several places leading to suspension of particulate matter lingering in air.
Issuing instructions, Chahal said that it will be mandatory to enclose under-construction buildings with 35-foot high sheets to prevent dust. He said the entire under-construction building will have to be enclosed with green cloth/jute sheet/tarpaulin and sprinklers will have to be installed at all construction sites within 15 days. BMC will put in place anti-smog gun systems within a month at major 50-60 points.
All construction sites shall install independent air quality measuring devices and monitor them scrupulously and all construction works undertaken by Metro, Roads Department and other government agencies shall be enclosed.
During the demolition of a building, it is mandatory to have screens on all sides and water sprinklers to settle dust. Any construction works like marble cutting, grinding, cutting of construction materials, etc. shall be carried out in enclosed premises only.
Chahal said that the government and the private agencies shall be treated at par and any violations shall be dealt by issuing stop work notices at the site itself.
Principal secretary to CM, Vikas Kharge; additional municipal commissioner (Eastern Suburbs) Ashwini Bhide; principal secretary, Environment, Pravin Darade; additional municipal commissioner (Projects) P.Velrasu; additional municipal commissioner (City) Ashwini Joshi; General Manager BEST Vijay Singhal; additional metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA, Ashwin Mudgal; MPCB’s member secretary, Avinash Dhakne; vice-chairman & chief officer, MHADA, Milind Borikar; additional municipal commissioner (Western Suburbs) Sudhakar Shinde, CEOs of SRA, MIDC; MD, MSRDC; MD, MMRCL; presidents of CREDAI; MCHI; NAREDCO; PEATA along with their office bearers attended this meeting.
Besides the construction industry, Chahal directed all stakeholders to ensure compliance of following:
*All transportation vehicles transporting construction debris shall be covered properly with tarpaulin sheets and shall be allowed to carry more than the designated weight.
*Tyres of all such vehicles to be mandatorily cleaned to remove dust and sprinkled with water before they leave construction sites and ply on the road and compulsory cleaning of all these vehicles after the day’s work.
*CCTV network at all the construction sites to ensure that all measures to be taken at construction sites are being implemented.
*Heavy penalty for transportation vehicles dumping debris on roads and footpaths in Mumbai and revocation of their registration.
*Press special squads into action to keep watch on the transportation vehicles.
* Stringent action to be taken by Transport Commissioner’s department against vehicles violating the above norms.
MPCB and BMC shall depute experts to verify the level of pollution caused due to refineries, Tata Power Plant and RCF and check their installations for their pollution control measures.
Random samples shall be collected by the experts from these installations on regular basis and chemically analysed to ensure no pollution is caused by these plants. Stringent action to be taken against violations.
Special squads for monitoring pollution control
*50 squads in 24 Municipal Administrative Wards shall visit all the construction sites every day to ensure compliance of above instructions.
*These squads will do video-recording at the construction sites where violations are observed and issue stop work notice at the site itself.
*The squads of Transport Commissioner shall check if any vehicles are plying on roads beyond their designated service life, without proper PUC or overloading and take stringent penal and disciplinary action against the defaulters including revocation of such vehicle’s registration.
The Mumbai Air Pollution Mitigation Plan (MAPMP) has attributed factors like road dust, open burning of garbage, usage of unclean fuel sources at hotels and bakeries, pollutants emanating from crematoriums, industries like RMC, casting and hot mix plants, and informal sectors like pottery etc, etc, causing air pollution.
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