FAR Construction and Pollution Poised to Kill People in Delhi

Deadly dust and noise pollution is caused by illegal construction in a cooperative group housing society of Dwarka, New Delhi. Government has failed to control the corrupt managing committees (MCs) of housing societies. Click the photo to know the details.
Deadly dust and noise pollution is caused by illegal construction in a cooperative group housing society of Dwarka, New Delhi. Government has failed to control the corrupt managing committees (MCs) of housing societies. Click the photo to know the details.

With the ill-conceived FAR (floor area ratio) construction policy, the Delhi government is using extended construction as a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) which will first torture people with the lethal dust and noise pollution and then finally kill them mercilessly.

By Rakesh Raman

Rakesh Raman
Rakesh Raman

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. The saying fits well for Delhi’s naive politicians and bureaucrats who are hell-bent to kill the local citizens by spreading construction dust and pollution in every nook of the city.

The extended building construction which is happening under the government’s cruel FAR (floor area ratio) rules is going to harm at least one million people who live in and around Delhi’s cooperative group housing societies.

With this ill-conceived FAR policy, the Delhi government is using extended construction as a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) which will first torture people with the lethal dust and noise pollution and then finally kill them mercilessly.

The new FAR scheme allows inhabited group housing complexes of Delhi to extend their existing buildings by allowing individual flat owners to add more rooms, etc. while ignoring the health and safety concerns of others who prefer to live in a clean, peaceful environment.

Bureaucratic Naivity

Today, it is a known fact that most politicians in India are illiterate and bureaucrats have no knowledge about any modern subject that is required to provide a smooth governance to the citizens.

This fact is reflected in the worsening Human Development Index (HDI) of India. Published by the United Nations Development Programme, HDI indicates the level of skills in a country and lets you know if people in that country are able to achieve their goals. Unfortunately, India falls at No. 131 in the global list of countries ranked on the basis of their HDI.

Now bureaucrats’ lack of knowledge in the evolving subject of environment is visible in their decision to allow FAR construction and pollution in Delhi.

[ Environment Protection: Join Green Group of Dwarka ]

With an utter disregard to the environment protection needs, the Government of India is breaking its own commitment to the global community.

The Union Cabinet of India chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given its approval to ratify the Paris Agreement (on Climate Change) on 2nd October 2016, the day of Gandhi Jayanti.

But unfortunately bureaucrats – who are allowing FAR-based pollution – do not understand the effect of pollution on Climate Change. They do not understand that the main cause of global warming or the human-led Climate Change is environmental pollution which contaminates the atmosphere with pollutants such as chemicals and energies.

Pollution, therefore, has become a major factor that is causing ‘global warming’ or Climate Change. As compared to the perils of environmental pollution that affect human health, the Climate Change brings mass destruction with floods, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and tsunamis.

Killing Effects of Pollution

  • Air pollution directly causes 3,000 premature deaths in Delhi every year.
  • The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) has released an environment survey revealing that 5-10% of the national capital’s workforce was sick due to respiratory problems – which is damaging the Indian economy.
  • Assocham also said air pollution is preventing workers from doing their jobs efficiently, which is affecting industrial productivity in India.
  • While increasing pollution will adversely impact tourism industry, most investors will be reluctant to invest in India.
  • Pollution kills 1.2 million Indians every year and costs the economy an estimated 3% of GDP.
  • Hundreds of thousands of people – particularly farmers – in India are always under the threat of environmental hazards such as floods and droughts caused by Climate Change.
  • There are interlinkages between greenhouse gases, climate change and air quality. Many air pollutants that are harmful to human health and ecosystems also contribute to Climate Change.
  • Atmospheric / construction dust causes a whopping 38% of pollution.
  • Apart from vehicular pollution, there are damaging thermal effects of dust on climate. Research reveals that dust-related atmospheric aerosol pollution has a hazardous effect on climate.

As India is already experiencing a trust deficit in the global arena because of its weak environmental protection policies, the country’s position will further get damaged if the government allowed the pollution-filled extended construction activity to continue in India’s capital New Delhi.

Construction and Corruption

But why is the Indian / Delhi government watching quietly when millions of people in Delhi are facing a silent death? Answer: Corruption.

Senior citizens in a group housing society of Dwarka urge the government to save them from dust and noise pollution of extended construction activity. Photo of March 26, 2017 by Rakesh Raman
Senior citizens in a group housing society of Dwarka urge the government to save them from dust and noise pollution of extended construction activity. Photo of March 26, 2017 by Rakesh Raman

The sudden surge in extended construction activity – which also includes redevelopment of housing complexes – is supposed to be driven by a criminal nexus between builders and corrupt Indian politicians.

As the managing committees (MCs) of the housing societies – which are governed by the Registrar Cooperative Societies (RCS) of the Delhi Government – are mostly corrupt, they are forcing the residents to accept extended construction.

Estimates suggest that the extended construction and building redevelopment projects in Delhi’s Dwarka – which is said to be the largest residential suburb in Asia – alone are worth more than $4 billion (Rs. 25,000 crore approximately).

The value of such projects in the city of Delhi is estimated to be around $50 billion while the construction activity will run for at least five more years – till 2022.

The builders and MCs of housing societies need various government permissions before starting the extended construction activity. They will obviously bribe the government officials to get clearances illegally and start construction.

[ FAR Construction: Dwarka Residents Blame DDA for Corrupt Practices ]

A huge part of this corruption money is expected to go to Indian politicians who are allowing this illegal activity to happen while depriving citizens of their right to pollution-free living guaranteed under the Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

As most politicians in India are history-sheeters with serious criminal records, they use the corruption money to win elections by bribing the voters and tampering with electronic voting machines (EVMs).

Increasing Lawlessness

The police and law-enforcement agencies are reluctant to take action against the MCs of housing societies because they are supported by deep-pocketed builders and corrupt Indian bureaucrats and politicians.

Various government departments in Delhi are so careless that they are ignoring the advice of specialized pollution-control agencies such as the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) which has warned them about the risks of extended construction and pollution.

In August 2017, DPCC wrote a letter to the Vice Chairman (DDA), Commissioner (South Delhi Municipal Corporation), Sub Divisional Magistrate (Dwarka, Delhi), and Delhi Police Commissioner to take action in order to stop extended construction and pollution. But all these departments have simply ignored the DPCC advice and pollution is increasing. Click here to read the DPCC letter.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) of India – established under India’s constitutional provision of Article 21 – has also observed that one of the major sources of air pollution is dust emission from construction activities, which must be stopped to avoid pollution-related diseases and deaths. But the corrupt government departments which are giving permissions for this avoidable construction have even ignored the NGT directive.

Children demonstrating in the streets of New Delhi so that the Indian government should protect them from dust and noise pollution coming from extended construction activity. Photo by Rakesh Raman
Children demonstrating in the streets of New Delhi so that the Indian government should protect them from dust and noise pollution coming from extended construction activity. Photo by Rakesh Raman

Although FAR construction and pollution will affect all men, women, and children, it is extremely harmful to senior citizens (people above 60 years of age) because of their weaker immune systems.

They will not be able to recover from ailments – such as asthma, bronchitis, airway inflammation, coughing, and wheezing – caused by high levels of dust pollution. The situation will get worse for the senior citizens when they will not be able to bear the health care costs for the increased physical disorders from such pollution.

[ Delhi Pollution Is More Dangerous for Children and Senior Citizens ]

As FAR construction in housing societies will happen in different parts of Delhi, nearly 5 million senior citizens are virtually facing a painful death. And there is no government existing in Delhi that cares for these harmed senior citizens.

All their requests to the Delhi Government and the Government of India to save them from harmful dust and noise pollution have been falling on deaf ears.

Although the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 – initiated by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India – is supposed to provide “simple, speedy and inexpensive mechanism for the protection of life and property of the older persons,” it is a completely ineffective piece of legislation.

The senior citizens say they have been running from pillar to post to get extended construction stopped in group housing societies, but the authorities have refused to listen to them.

Invalid Arguments

The concerned government departments and the managing committees (MCs) of group housing societies offer an invalid argument that if majority of the members in a Society supports extended construction decision, the other residents will have to accept it.

How is that possible? If the decision of the majority of members is driven by greed and not by need, it cannot be imposed on others who want to live peacefully in a harmless environment.

People are participating enthusiastically in the signature campaign to stop construction -related dust and noise pollution in Dwarka, New Delhi
People are participating enthusiastically in the signature campaign to stop construction-related dust and noise pollution in Dwarka, New Delhi

As MCs contend that the majority of members support them in General Body Meetings (GBMs), their majority argument is meaningless. By this weird logic, if majority of the members say that they should kill others, will the MC of a Society kill the innocent people? The majority rule cannot apply in such cases where even one person’s life is at risk.

Moreover, most MCs of group housing societies are controlled by criminals who win the vote and support of other law-breaking residents / members in elections and GBMs by allowing them many illegal activities such as unauthorized car parking inside the Society buildings, illegal alterations in individual flats, and so on. This is a kind of corruption and bribe to get others’ support.

Thus, these MCs get even the illegal decisions (such as the FAR-based extended construction) approved in GBMs – which are in fact bogus meetings. Obviously, the GBM decisions cannot be imposed on other members.

But the Delhi government departments such as the DDA and the office of Registrar Cooperative Societies (RCS) have refused to acknowledge this fact and they are accepting the fraudulent decisions taken by MCs in bogus GBMs.

[ Extended FAR Construction Causes Gas Pipeline Breakage in Dwarka ]

Government fails to understand that adding more rooms to existing rooms in a flat cannot be a need – particularly when most residents have very small families. It will also widen the rich-poor gap in a country where millions of people are still homeless and some rich are making more rooms which they do not need.

The decision for harmful construction of MCs can be construed as an attempt to murder, as the construction-related pollution, disturbance, and possible accidents can kill innocent human beings.

The different Society MCs also say that the government rules allow such extended construction. But, in fact, these rules are environmentally hazardous and will harm the health and lives of people living in the Society. No government in the world can make any rule that is aimed to kill its own citizens. Will the Delhi / Indian government kill its own people?

FAR Construction Not Allowed in Occupied Housing Societies

As their eyes are on making easy money from high-value construction projects, the MCs of group housing societies are misleading the residents by saying that government has allowed extended construction.

But the government had clearly stated that extended construction under floor area ratio (FAR) rules is not allowed in already constructed and occupied group housing societies.

A government notification from the office of the Lt. Governor of Delhi states that “it has been decided in public interest that increased FAR should not be permitted in respect of already constructed and occupied CGHS (cooperative group housing societies).” [ Click here to read the government notification. ]

Many MCs baselessly argue that it is an old rule, but the point is that this rule was made keeping in view the “public interest” because extended construction will be harmful in occupied housing complexes. Then how can the “public interest” concern suddenly change after a couple of years?

The government’s oblique permission to allow extended construction in the existing upmarket flats is not addressing any housing needs in the country where millions of people are still homeless.

People who prefer clean environment suggest that the government should only focus on addressing the housing needs of homeless poor by building new low-cost houses for them. The affluent people should not be allowed to expand their swanky flats because such an expansion will be risky for people living in the buildings.

With these facts, they urge the Delhi government and the Government of India to immediately issue clear instructions to stop the extended construction activity in group housing societies of Delhi.

[ Sign the Greenpeace Petition: Stop Extended Construction and Pollution in Delhi ]

If the avoidable construction is carried out in the group housing complexes where people – men, women, and children – are already living, it will deprive them of their right to live in a clean environment.

However, the politicians and bureaucrats are working in a totally irresponsible manner as they are not taking any steps to stop construction-related dust and noise pollution.

If any government exists in Delhi and it wants to save its own people, it must immediately stop FAR construction in group housing societies. The government must clarify its stand on extended construction through advertisements in leading newspapers and information on government’s own websites.

Moreover, the Delhi government must also change the Cooperative Societies Rules so that the MCs should be allowed to use the majority vote only for simple, non-financial decisions, and not to impose their ill will on others, as is happening in the FAR construction projects.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a government’s National award-winning journalist and social activist. He has formed an environment-protection group called Green Group in Delhi. Earlier, he had been associated with the United Nations (UN) through United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as a digital media expert to help businesses use technology for brand marketing and business development. He also runs a free school for deserving children under his NGO – RMN Foundation.

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One thought on “FAR Construction and Pollution Poised to Kill People in Delhi

  • September 13, 2017 at 12:13 AM

    The DDA sanctions the building plan with these list of conditions with FORM- B-1 (Chapter 2, Para 2.18.1, 2.19)

    1. The plans are valid up to ……………………… day of month …………………… year
    2. The construction will be undertaken as per sanctioned plan only and no deviation from the
    bye-laws will be permitted without prior sanction. Any deviation done against the bye-laws is
    liable to be demolished and the supervising Architect, engaged on the job will run the risk of
    having his license cancelled.
    3. Violation of building bye-laws will not be compounded.
    4. It will be duty of the owner of the plot and the Architect preparing the plan to ensure that the
    sanctioned plans are as per prevalent building bye-laws. If any infringement of the bye-laws
    remain unnoticed the DDA reserves the right to amend the plans as and when the
    infringement comes to its notice and DDA will stand indemnified against any claim on this
    5. A notice in writing shall be sent to DDA before commencement of the erection of the
    building as per bye-laws similar notice will be sent to DDA when the building has reached up
    to plinth level.
    6. The party shall not occupy or permit it to occupy the building or use permit the building or
    part there of affected by any such work until occupancy certificate is issued by the Authority.
    7. DDA will stand indemnified and kept harmless from all proceedings in courts and before
    other authorities of all expenses/losses/claims which the DDA may incur or become liable to
    pay as a result or in consequences of the sanction accorded by it to these building plans.
    8. The door and window leaves shall be fixed in such a way that they shall not when open
    project on any street.
    9. The party will convert the house into dwelling units of each floor as per the approved
    parameters of the project and shall use the premises only for residential purpose.
    10. The building shall not be constructed within minimum mandatory distance as specified in
    Indian Electricity Rules and as per the requirement of Delhi Vidut Board from the voltage
    lines running on any side of the site.
    11. The land left open on consequences of their enforcement of the set back rule shall form part
    of the public street.
    12. The thickness of outer walls will be maintained at least 0.23 mt. (9”).
    13. The basic levels should be got ascertained from the concerned at the site of the construction.
    14. The owner will display boards of minimum size of 3 ft. X 4ft. indicating the following
    i. Plot No. and location
    ii. Name of lesse/owner
    iii. Use of the property as per lease deed
    iv. Date of sanction of Building Plan with No.
    v. Sanction valid up to
    vi. Use of different floors and areas sanctioned
    vii. Name of the Architect & his address
    viii. Name of the contractor and his address
    15. The provision of the display board on the construction site is a mandatory requirement and
    non-compliance of the same will invite a penalty of Rs. 5000/-.
    16. It will be ensured that the construction / demolition work shall be carried out in such a manner
    that no disturbance/nuisance is caused to residents of the neighbourhood.
    17. It will be ensured by the owner and the Architect that during the construction the building
    plans sanctioned shall satisfy the water harvesting requirement as well as waste water
    recycling system for building with minimum anticipated discharge of 10,000 liters and above
    per day of waste water as stipulated under these bye-laws (as notified in Gazette of India
    dated 31.7.2001) and the information given there in (applicable on plots of 100 sqm. and
    18. As per Notification No. 11011/9/98/-DDIV/(pt)/DDIB dated 21.11.01 of MOUD & PA, G.O.I
    Form ‘C’ (Building Bye-Laws 7.2.2) and Form ‘D’ (Building Bye-Laws 7.2.3) will not be
    applicable. However as per this Notification the owner through his Architect/Engineer/
    Supervisor shall give notice to the DDA in the performa as per Form C-1 on completion of
    work upto plinth level to enable DDA to ensure that work conform to the sanctioned building
    plans and Building Bye-Laws. Further completion-cum-occupancy certificate will be applied
    and obtained as per above Notification dated 21.11.2001.
    19. The building shall be constructed strictly in accordance with the sanction plan as well as in
    accordance with the certificate submitted jointly by the owner/Architect/Structural Engineer
    for safety requirement as stipulated in Chapter 9 of these Building Bye-Laws, and the
    structural Design including safety from any natural hazards duly incorporated in the design of
    the building as per the Government Of India Notification bearing No SO-248 (E) dated
    21.03.2001 and clause 9.1, 9.2.1, 9.2.2 and Annexure VII of this Bye Laws.
    20. The mulba during the construction will be removed on weekly basis. If the same is not done,
    in that case the local body shall remove the mulba and the cost shall be borne by the owner of
    the plot.
    21. During construction, it is mandatory on the part of the owner to properly screen the
    construction site of the main road by means of erecting a screen wall not less than 8 ft. in
    height from ground level which is to be painted to avoid unpleasant look from the road side.
    In addition to this a net or some other protective material shall be hoisted at the facades or the
    building to ensure that any falling material remains within the protected area.
    22. Noise related activities will not be taken up for construction at night after 10.00 PM.
    (i) Every builder or owner shall put tarpaulin on scaffolding around the area of construction
    and the building. No person including builder, owner can be permitted to store any
    construction material particularly sand on any part of the street, roads in any colony.
    (ii)The construction material of any kind that is stored in the site will be fully covered in all
    respects so that it does not disperse in the air in any form.
    (iii) The construction material and debris shall be carried in the trucks or other vehicles which
    are fully covered and protected so as to ensure that the construction debris or the construction
    material does not get dispersed into the air or atmosphere, in any form whatsoever.
    (iv)The dust emissions from the construction site should be completely controlled and all
    precautions taken in that behalf.
    (v) The vehicles carrying construction material and construction debris of any kind should be
    cleared before it is permitted to ply on the road after unloading of such material.
    (vi) Every worker working on the construction site and involved in loading, unloading and
    carriage of construction material and construction debris shall be provided with mask to
    prevent inhalation of dust particles.
    (vii)Every owner and or builder shall be under obligation to provide all medical help,
    investigation and treatment to the workers involved in the construction of building and carry
    of construction material and construction debris relatable to dust emission.
    (viii) It shall be the responsibility of every builder to transport construction material and
    debris waste to construction site, dumping site or any other place in accordance with rules and
    in terms of this order.
    (ix) All to take appropriate measures and to ensure that the terms and conditions of the earlier
    order and these orders should strictly comply with by fixing sprinklers, creations of green air
    (x) Compulsory use of wet jet in grinding and stone cutting.
    (xi) Wind breaking walls around construction site.
    (xii) All efforts to be made to increase the ‘tree cover’ area by planting large number of trees
    of various species depending upon the quality content of soil and other natural attendant
    (xiii) All the builders who are building commercial, residential complexes which are covered
    under the EIA Notification of 2006 shall provide green belt around the building that they
    24. The approving authority approves Architectural Drawings/Development Control norms with
    respect to the Building Bye Laws and Master Plan provisions only. The technical
    drawings/documents submitted by the owner/consultant/Architect/Engineer/Structural
    Engineer/Landscape Architect /Urban Designer/Engineer for Utility Services are considered
    as part of the records/information supporting the building permit only. The responsibility of
    the correctness of information/application of technical provisions fully vests with the
    owner/consultant/ Architect/Engineer/Structural Engineer/Landscape Architect /Urban
    Designer/Engineer for Utility Services and shall be liable as per laws.
    25. No puncture, perforation, cutting, chiseling, trimming of any kind for any purpose are
    permitted in the structural members (beams / columns) submitted by the structural engineer as
    structural drawing for building permit in accordance with the relevant structural codes.
    26. The sanction will be void ab initio if any material fact has been suppressed or mis-represented
    of if auxiliary conditions mentioned above are not complied.

    These conditions are not followed, especially condition no 16 to 26. If not followed this should be immediately reported to PMO grievance or Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS).


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