Rapid Metro, 16 lane e-way yet to be inspected a month after NGT order

Gurgaon (GGN): Two of the biggest construction projects on Golf Course Road, Rapid Metro and the 16-lane HUDA-DLF expressway, have still not been inspected for violation of the Union ministry of environment and forest’s (MoEF) 2010 guidelines, even more than a month after the National Green Tribunal’s order.

On April 6, the NGT had ordered the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) to inspect sites in Gurgaon, and had reserved a special mention for Golf Course Road for the “uncontrolled and high dust emissions” around it. The tribunal had also called for a stop to construction in projects where builders were found violating construction norms and causing environmental pollution.

Although the HSPCB has so far inspected over 20 sites on this stretch and fined 15 developers Rs 2.5 lakh each for violations, the Rapid Metro and HUDA-DLF expressway project have still not been checked.

When asked about the delay, the board officials said they were caught up in other business. “We have inspected more than 20 construction sites, barring the Rapid Metro and expressway projects on Golf Course Road, as we were caught up during the last few days. However, we will soon inspect the two projects.”

The response, however, may not sound convincing to residents living around the Golf Course Road, who have to face a number of problems due to the pollution caused by construction dust.

Astha Kaul, a resident of The Summit, questioned the rationale of the pollution control board to focus on the smaller sites first. “Residential and commercial construction sites cause trouble only to residents living close to such sites. However, construction of Rapid Metro and the expressway causes pollution along the 8km-long stretch. How can pollution control board be so illogical?” she asked.

“It is reasonable to take up major sites first so that the major source of pollution can be controlled at the earliest. However, what is most important is that inspection process is conducted properly,” said an advocate, who did not wish to be named.

Officials of both the projects assured that they follow all the guidelines issued by the authorities.

An official spokesperson for Rapid Metro said, “We are conscious of our responsibility towards citizens of Gurgaon. All the mandatory norms as laid down by various legal and statutory bodies are being complied by the Rapid Metro. We have an internal audit mechanism to ensure that these guidelines are adhered to by our contractors as well.”

Rohit Malik, the director of the 16-lane HUDA-DLF expressway project, said, “We have assured that all NGT norms are followed. We test ambient air, noise and water on a quarterly basis and sprinkle water on a daily basis. There is vegetation/grassing along medians, only covered and cleaned vehicles are allowed at the construction site, and green nets and hard barricades are also implemented.”