With fast deteriorating air quality in big cities like Delhi -NCR leading to tougher regulatory norms such as the odd-even policy for private cars, the high stake construction industry along with the automobile sector should be prepared to deal with possible public outrage and must devise ways for meeting such challenges, an ASSOCHAM Paper has noted.
“There are a number of environmental concerns that impact the construction industry. These include erosion, contaminated soil, lead paint removal, air contamination by asbestos particles, disposal of hazardous material, dust control and noise level,” it said.
Mapping various policy and regulatory risks which have increased with rising environmental concerns, the paper stated these issues were also flagged by a working sub-group of the erstwhile Planning Commission.
“We have begun this exercise of sensitising various stakeholders in the construction industry since a perception is gaining ground as if unplanned construction, done in a crude and unscientific ways is among the main culprits of pollution in big cities,” ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr. D S Rawat said.
The paper highlighted the fact India is urbanised only the extent of 31 per cent but urbanisation at a faster pace is imperative for a sustainable economic growth. The construction industry has a major role in stepping up the urban development.
“After an aborted attempt to smoothen land acquisition, any controversy on environment pollution is the last thing that the industry wants,” the ASSOCHAM said.
In the absence of planned and organised urban development, cities have witnessed mushrooming of slums which now account for a quarter of all urban housing. Mushrooming growth of slums with lack of sanitation and absence of waste disposal add to the city pollution.
“Whether we like it or not, pollution in some of the big cities is becoming unbearable and as happened in the past, the court intervention, accompanied by pressures from civil society, health activists and environmentalists would bring in tougher regulatory norms for a host of industries which should be living up to these challenges by technology innovation and going green in their approach,” the chamber said.
Except for the top 20 players, the Indian construction industry is highly fragmented, family owned, or based on individual ownership. “The process of evolving has been painfully slow and unplanned. Even a lot of construction happens in the primitive way with concrete and bricks being moved by head load. Mechanisation has crept in as projects have become large but these are only a small fraction of the construction market.