The Supreme Court today reimposed the ban on construction activities in Delhi after taking note of air quality. Non-polluting activities relating to construction like plumbing work, interior decoration, electrical work, and carpentry are allowed to be continued. The Court also directed states to use funds collected as cess under The Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1996, to help construction workers who would suffer job losses due to the ban to sustain themselves.
The order read, “…as an interim measure, and until further orders, we re-impose the ban on the construction activities in the NCR subject to the following two conditions:-
(i) Non-polluting activities relating to construction such as the plumbing work, interior decoration, electrical work and carpentry are allowed to be continued;
(ii) 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”.
The Delhi government had on Monday lifted the ban on construction and demolition activities as the air quality showed improvement. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had submitted that the ban on construction activities in the national capital was lifted as the air quality showed slight improvement. Air Quality Index of Delhi this morning was 290, as compared to 403 last week.
Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said today that only trucks and tempos that run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), barring those engaged in essential services, will be allowed to enter Delhi from November 27.
The Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas met on November 21 and took the decision to lift the ban.
The bench that passed the order comprised Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice DY Chandrachud, and Justice Surya Kant.