The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) on Saturday lifted the ban on construction activity, which was imposed on November 13 after the air quality index (AQI) shot above the dangerous 300 mark.
The lifting of the ban will come as a relief to the real estate sector as construction had been under progress in over 1,500 sites before Diwali.
“The AQI which had gone beyond 300 at some places has now come down to 120 or so. Due to the bursting of crackers on Laxmi Pujan day, it had shot up beyond 300, which led to the imposition of a ban on construction activity. Now that things are back to normal, the ban has been withdrawn,” PCMC Joint City Engineer Sanjay Kulkarni said.
However, Kulkarni said that though the ban has been lifted, builders will have to take all necessary precautions to ensure that they do not cause pollution. “The guidelines are already in place. The builders will have to follow them strictly. We are also keeping a watch through our squads,” Kulkarni told The Indian Express on Saturday.
The ban on construction activity was imposed by Municipal Commissioner Shekhar Singh for one week. “The decision has been taken in view of the rise in Air Quality Index up to 300 during the Diwali period,” Singh had said then.
“A day after Laxmi Pujan, the air quality went way beyond 300 at some places like Bhosari, Bhumkar Chowk and Nigdi. In Bhosari, it was 370; 350 in Bhumkar Chowk in Wakad and Nigdi areas,” he said.
Sources in the real estate industry said the ban did not affect construction activity as it had already been stopped due to Diwali. “The labourers have gone home for Diwali. The construction activity was to resume Monday,” a builder said.
The PCMC commissioner said the decision to ban construction activity had been based on a November 10 Bombay High Court order. “The high court had said that if the AQI rises during Diwali, the civic bodies should take an appropriate decision in this regard,” he said.