BMC; experts suggest dashboard to name, shame builders, ET RealEstate

October 23, 2023

If construction sites in the city fail to adhere to the new air pollution guidelines set by BMC, ward officers are now required to issue stop-work notices to the errant builders. And in case of continued non-compliance, BMC has the authority to file a first information report or even initiate prosecution proceedings.

Experts, however, advocate for a public dashboard to be set up by the civic body where the list of repeat offenders can be published, on the lines of RBI releasing its list of defaulters. This move, they believe, would create a significant reputational deterrent for developers.

Ronak Sutaria, founder of Respirer Living Sciences — an organization specialising in air quality monitoring — highlighted the need for a more strategic approach rather than a knee-jerk reaction of clamping down on construction sites during periods of heightened pollution. “It’s crucial to implement hyper-local air quality monitoring across smaller geographic areas,” Sutaria said, adding: “Without this data, we risk enforcing regulations without clear focus.”

Sutaria further suggested that if a stop-work notice is issued without a significant penalty, a public dashboard should, at the very least, be established to inform citizens about repeat offenders. “In cases where regulatory pressure falls short, creating social pressure can be an effective strategy. It would also impact the builders’ reputation, which they would likely want to avoid,” he explained.

BMC officials said that there are discussions about imposing a penalty on defaulters. The civic development plan and legal department have been asked to check if slapping fines fits into the legal framework.

“We need to be right while taking action or else BMC will be taken to court and the purpose of taking action would not be served,” said a civic official, who also pointed out that a stop-work notice means a major hit to a construction site as labour, time and inventory “go to waste” till they are allowed to resume work.

Environmentalist Rishi Agarwal said that works being carried out on arterial city roads serve as a litmus test. “If the works here are not following dust-control measures, whether it is a private or public, then one cannot have much expectations from works in bylanes and other congested areas of the city,” Agarwal added.

  • Published On Oct 22, 2023 at 01:00 PM IST

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