New Delhi: Taking note of worsening air quality, the Supreme Court on Wednesday re-imposed the ban on construction activities in Delhi and national capital region (NCR). The SC also directed the states to provide subsistence to workers from the funds collected as labour cess for the period during which such activities are prohibited. Taking note of the same, Delhi government announced compensation for the affected labourers community soon after.Also Read - Air Pollution Latest Update: Air Quality Panel Orders Immediate Closure of Industries in NCR For Not Using Cleaner Fuels
“I have given an order today to deposit Rs 5,000 each in bank accounts of construction workers in view of a ban on construction activities due to air pollution,” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said. We will also provide compensation to workers for their loss according to their minimum wages, Kejriwal added. Also Read - Air Pollution Causes Irreversible Damage to The Eyes
A special bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana, in an interim order uploaded on Wednesday night, also directed the Commission for Air Quality Management in the NCR and Adjoining Areas to “commission a scientific study of air quality based on available data of previous years bearing upon recorded levels of air pollution”. Also Read - Can Air Pollution Cause Vision Loss? Expert Answers
“We direct that instead of waiting for the air quality to deteriorate before initiating action under the graded response plan, necessary measures must be put into place in anticipation of a deterioration of air quality. For this purpose, it is necessary for the commission to engage expert agencies with domain knowledge in meteorological data and statistical modelling,” said the bench which also comprised justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant.
Bench reversed decision to allow construction activities
Asking the commission on pollution and NCR states — Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan — to continue with their measures to curb the spike in pollution, the bench reversed the decision to allow construction activities from November 22 in view of improved ground situation in air pollution level. “In the meantime, as an interim measure and until further orders, we re-impose the ban on construction activities in the NCR subject to the following two conditions: Non-polluting activities relating to construction such as plumbing work, interior decoration, electrical work and carpentry are allowed to be continued, the order said.
“The states shall use the funds which have been collected as labour cess for the welfare of construction workers to provide them subsistence for the period during which construction activities are prohibited and pay wages notified under the Minimum Wages Act for the respective categories of workers,” it further added. The order has been passed in a plea filed by Aditya Dubey seeking urgent steps to improve the air quality of Delhi-NCR.
(With inputs from agencies)