Is Narmada water being made to flow in Sabarmati not supplied to city of Ahmedabad? This has furthered the idea of river...
I have been selling glass for commercial buildings talking about light, thermal/solar heat gain etc.etc..but I...
Dear Saxena ji,
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West facing windows can be a big source of heat, first measure which you...
Property buyers in Punjab are in a fix, as are financiers and builders with housing construction projects in Panchkula and Mohali, satellite towns of
Chandigarh. One of the most 'planned' cities in India with a rigid master plan, Chandigarh does not allow new private housing. This has driven a
construction boom in the satellite towns. The problem this is where industrial units were located earlier--to keep them away from residential
The limbo has resulted from some proactive measures by the environmental regulators to maintain a safe distance between polluting factories and
residences. These were diluted over two years (see box Spaced out), and now the courts--angered by this compromise--have clamped
down. Projects worth an estimated Rs 40,000 crore are at stake, and await fresh guidelines.
The Punjab Pollution Control Board (ppcb) had formulated in 2005 separate guidelines for siting of housing colonies with
regard to their proximity with industries. It was the first state to come up with such regulation in the interest of public health and environment--the
mandated distance between industrial units and housing was to be 500 metres. These guidelines were then diluted and the distance lowered to
200 m. Various officials says this was due to pressure from farmers whose land was being bought for the housing projects nobody was paying them
for the 500-m buffer strip, resulting in lower revenues from land sale. After a series of dilutions, the board did a vote-face it revoked its
no-objection certificates, leaving builders and buyers in the lurch. One builder moved the High Court of Punjab and Haryana. Even as the court hears
the case, the state government has set up a committee under its chief secretary to draw fresh guidelines for siting of residential areas. But there
are apprehensions the committee has no urban planners or housing experts. The results could be disastrous, warn builders.
Meanwhile, the Punjab Urban Development Authority (puda) has cancelled its permissions for 'change of land use' from
farming to residential. puda officials refused to explain the reason behind this sudden move, and whether it is linked to
the board's withdrawal of noc. "puda grants permissions after no-objection certificates are
obtained from pollution control board, public works department, forest department, municipal committee concerned, chief town planner, and drainage
department," says Som Parkash, chief administrator of puda at Chandigarh.
The number of projects for which puda land-use permissions or ppcb no-objection
certificates have been cancelled is not known. The Punjab Colonisers and Builders Association claims 31 projects are affected; media reports say the
number is 71. Parkash says 40 projects are affected.
Not all the problems are apparent; some are like time-bombs ticking. The burden of providing basic amenities like internal roads, streetlights, schools,
water and electricity inside the housing projects lies with the builders. But the facilities needed outside the complexes are the government's
responsibility. Private housing depends solely on groundwater--extracted through borewells. Builders told Down To Earth that they have had
to plumb depths of more than 180 m to find potable water. With all housing societies promising round-the-clock water supply, groundwater in the
area is considerably threatened.
Sewage is another problem. A primary treatment plant of 67 mld (million litres per day) capacity was constructed in the 1980s in Mohali. But now it is
under-utilised due to the unavailability of a proper network. With a number of housing colonies coming up, sewage disposal remains a troubled
To address the problems and issue fresh guidelines for siting, the state government called for a public meeting on June 2, seeking suggestions from
the public. But the meeting went unnoticed. "About 60 people were present. Of them, 35-40 were builders, 10-12 industrialists and the rest, general
public," said a builder. According to him, the proceedings of the meeting indicated that nothing much could be done about the distance between
housing colonies and industries. "Industrial units will need to check pollution and adhere to norms," he said.
There is hope among builders that all their projects will get the nod. "We feel all the projects will be cleared," says Kulwant Singh, president of the
Punjab Colonisers and Builders' Association. "We have been asked to stop construction till a decision is taken. Projects will not be cancelled. We are
worried about the delay," says Rajit Kakar, managing director of Silver City Housing and Infrastructure Ltd. Builders argue factories have come up
haphazardly and that they should be regulated--not the housing projects. But Yogesh Goel, chairperson, ppcb,
says, "There is no reason for industries to move unless they do not function or do not follow pollution control norms."
The government is torn between local investment opportunities and environmental safety. ppcb needs to be clear about
a policy to rightly accommodate urban growth. It also needs independence to function as a regulator.