Mumbai air quality: BMC cracks down on Prestige Group for flouting anti-pollution guidelines

BMC ordered the Bangalore-based real estate developer to immediately halt construction work in a bid to curb air pollution

Representational photo of a construction site (photo: National Herald archives)
Representational photo of a construction site (photo: National Herald archives)

NH National Bureau

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has issued a stern "stop work" notice to the Prestige Group, a prominent real estate company from Bangalore, for alleged violations of anti-pollution guidelines aimed at combatting rising air pollution in Mumbai. This move comes in the wake of escalating concerns regarding the deteriorating air quality in the city over the past week.

A dedicated team tasked with mitigating air pollution conducted a site inspection at the Prestige City, consisting of Siesta, Bellanza, and COC buildings, located in Yogi Hills, Mulund West. The findings of this inspection revealed a complete lack of compliance with the anti-pollution measures put forth by the BMC. In response, the BMC sent a formal notice to Prestige Mulund Realty, ordering them to address the deficiencies promptly.

The BMC's notice, dated 25 October 2023, instructed Prestige Mulund Realty to install adequate sprinklers and smog guns within 15 and 30 days, respectively, to ensure compliance with the anti-pollution guidelines. Furthermore, the notice unequivocally directed the company to cease all ongoing construction activities until complete adherence to the BMC's stipulations. Failure to comply could result in the site's sealing, the notice warned.

In response to the BMC's action, the Prestige Group affirmed its commitment to rectify the situation. In an official statement, the company stated, “We have immediately initiated actions to ensure compliance with these guidelines. We are among the select developers who had already installed and deployed two anti-smog guns more than a year back." The Prestige Group also pointed out its existing practices, such as dust/safety screens, periphery fencing, covered debris trucks, wheel washing facilities, and continuous road cleaning, all designed to minimise the environmental impact of construction work.”

Adhering to all the BMC's guidelines will take time, the company acknowledged, but it emphasised its dedication to speedy implementation. The statement concluded with an assurance of the company's commitment to fulfilling the requirements set by the authorities.

Notably, Mumbai grapples with approximately 6,000 active construction sites, which include private real estate developments and extensive infrastructure projects like the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, the Mumbai Coastal Road project, the Bandra Versova Sea Link project, and various metro networks.

The BMC's guidelines, enforced more rigorously, require projects exceeding one acre in size to maintain a 35-foot barricade, while those under one acre must establish a 25-foot barricade.

All sites, regardless of the construction stage, are obligated to deploy green cloth or jute sheet coverings. Any construction site not complying with the regulation risks being served a stop-work notice. Additionally, the BMC mandates the installation of sprinkler systems at crucial points for continuous misting throughout the day during construction.

The recent crackdown on Prestige Group serves as a stern warning to all construction entities operating in Mumbai, emphasising the city's commitment to battling air pollution and ensuring a safer and healthier environment for its residents.

The move comes as the city seeks to maintain and improve air quality, with the Air Quality Index showing signs of improvement, shifting from "poor" to "moderate" levels recently, reducing concerns for those with respiratory illnesses.

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