In a first, 18 de­tained in Noida for dust pol­lu­tion

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

Noida: The path to prison for pol­lu­tion of­fences is get­ting shorter. On Di­wali night, over 300 peo­ple were ar­rested in Delhi for burst­ing crack­ers out­side the time win­dow de­ter­mined by the Supreme Court. On Satur­day, in neigh­bour­ing Noida, 18 peo­ple were de­tained for en­vi­ron­men­tal vi­o­la­tions like leav­ing a pile of dirt ly­ing on the road, a mound of sand un­cov­ered, or not sprin­kling wa­ter at a con­struc­tion site.

Ac­tion for such rea­sons was un­heard of be­fore this, and would take peo­ple by sur­prise still in other parts of the coun­try. But in Delhi-NCR, this marks the be­gin­ning of a new chap­ter of en­force­ment of pol­lu­tion-con­trol rules.

Whether th­ese will be­come part of lo­cal ad­min­is­tra­tors’ hand­book re­mains a ques­tion. Noida is promis­ing it will, at least over the next few weeks.

The sit­u­a­tion has to be brought un­der con­trol, which is why I or­dered the ar­rests. Th­ese were the first ar­rests for vi­o­lat­ing pol­lu­tion norms. The drive will con­tinue over the com­ing weeks,” Noida’s dis­trict mag­is­trate BN Singh said.

The ar­rests were made un­der the Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure Code (Sec­tion 151) and pro­vi­sions of the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Act, 1986. Both charges are bail­able.

Those taken into cus­tody in­cluded of­fi­cials of Galaxy Builders in Sec­tor 4 of Greater Noida west, Town Cen­tral, PKS Group in Sec­tor16B, those present at an un­der-con­struc­tion Bharat Petroleum pump op­po­site Ecotech 12 and an il­le­gal stone-crush­ing unit in Pat­wari vil­lage.

Singh said the ar­rests fol­lowed an in­spec­tion ear­lier in the day. “I vis­ited sev­eral ar­eas in the morn­ing and found gross neg­li­gence by builders at many con­struc­tion sites. At a time when air qual­ity here is hov­er­ing around the ‘very poor’ and ‘se­vere’ mark ev­ery other day, we have of­fend­ers flout­ing norms laid down by the Cen­tral Pol­lu­tion Con­trol Board. So, I or­dered the ar­rests un­der CrPC,” said Singh.

On Satur­day, Noida’s qual­ity in­dex stood at 384.

The in­spec­tion team was headed by the Dadri SDM, An­jani Ku­mar, se­nior po­lice of­fi­cers and mem­bers of the pol­lu­tion con­trol board. “In sev­eral of the con­struc­tion sites, we found the en­tire area shrouded in dust. Con­struc­tion at sev­eral places was be­ing car­ried out with­out us­ing tar­pau­lin or safety nets, there was no sprin­kling of wa­ter and il­le­gal stone crush­ers were op­er­at­ing un­hin­dered,” said Ku­mar. He sub­mit­ted his re­port later in the day, fol­low­ing which the ar­rests were or­dered.

Last week, the ad­min­is­tra­tion had an­nounced that any vi­o­la­tion of the Solid Waste Man­age­ment Rules, 2016, would lead to fines and im­pris­on­ment up to six months. It had also said that reck­less dump­ing of garbage or set­ting them on fire in the open would be treated as “pub­lic nui­sance” and lead to ar­rests.


Cops in­spect a con­struc­tion site

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