Developers fear construction ban in NCR will delay projects

November 2021
Developers fear construction ban in NCR will delay projects

Real estate developers in Delhi and Gurgaon have termed the pollution-led ban on construction activities as “pointless”, claiming they have been taking steps to not worsen the air quality.

“We believe that the step is pointless because all developers have put in place measures to reduce pollution on job sites," said Pradeep Aggarwal, chairman of industry body, Assocham's National Council on Affordable Housing.

In response to rising air pollution levels, the Delhi and Haryana government halted construction work. Developers say the government needs to come up with a long term solution to this yearly occurrence caused by stubble burning, else construction projects will continue to be delayed.

"We, as developers, are already following possible ways to reduce pollution from our construction activities, including anti-smoke guns, sprinkling mechanisms, green nets,” said Rohit Kishore, CEO, Eldeco Group, which is executing a project in Delhi. “Such orders issued by the government will not only affect the daily wage of the labourers but may also derail and delay the deadlines of the projects."

Industry organisations anticipate that the government will provide certain relief measures to workers in order to alleviate concerns over earnings and jobs.

Instead of imposing a blanket moratorium on construction, experts suggest that the government should make it essential to use pollution-controlling technologies.

Real estate developers in the national capital region (NCR) have faced intermittent restrictions on construction activities due to the worsening quality of air, and have had to invest considerably in pollution-reduction technologies.

Realtors are investing Rs 10-30 lakh per project to install smog guns at construction sites to reduce pollution and avoid fines from the authorities.

"Although construction activities have a smaller role to play in Delhi’s pollution compared with the stubble burning each year in neighboring states, we hope that the government will also consider extension of RERA timelines accordingly in case this ban extends beyond a month," said Nayan Raheja, executive director, Raheja Developers, which is executing projects in both New Delhi and Gurgaon.

Rahul Singla, Director, Mapsko Group said that the move will slow the pace of construction and development, but it is needed at this time. “It will encourage people to become more conscious of pollution and take the required efforts to reduce it. It will contribute to the reduction of pollutants and dispersants in the atmosphere,” he said.

Pankaj Bajaj, President, CREDAI-NCR said that the developer community is happy to halt work for as long as it is required, if it is going to help. “There are some studies which say that construction contributes less than 5% of the ambient dust and smoke in the NCR. We should be addressing the 95%- the farm fires and the vehicular emissions. The period for stoppage of work plus a reasonable remobilisation period should be allowed as force majeure for delivery commitments to home buyers,” said Bajaj.

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