Mumbai Local

BMC permits four more construction hours

more time more work:New timings have been brought into force as long as no nuisance is created to neighbourhoods, says BMC chief engineer. —file photo  

As part of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s ‘ease of doing business’ initiative, municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta issued a directive allowing developers in the city to extend hours of work, starting from 6 a.m. and ending at 10 p.m. (as against the existing 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. limit).

BMC chief engineer (Development Plan) Vinod Chithore told The Hindu , “We had been receiving representations from stakeholders from the housing and construction industry for some time. There was no vehicular access to construction sites during peak hours. Loading and unloading work at sites was hindered. Today, technology is available for ensuring a reduced, if not muted, noise decibel level; for example, now only ready-mix cement is used. Similarly, the environment laws permit the new time extensions. Besides, there was no specific provision in the MRTP Act that prescribed to constrain the working hours. Hence the 6 am to 10 pm extended timings have been brought in to force as long as no nuisance is created to surrounding neighbourhoods.”

The city’s building lobby expressed happiness at the decision. Dharmesh Jain, managing director of Nirmal Lifestyle Ltd, said, “This will help speed up construction which is essential. The world over, construction activity is permitted till 10 pm. Mumbai is a metropolis that does not sleep before 11 p.m. to midnight. There is sense in the BMC decision.”

Another major builder, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said “Most sites were anyways running their construction activity well after the 7 p.m. deadline, up to 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m. This resulted in harassment by the police and civic agency, causing rampant corruption, which in turn added up to the cost of construction which was passed on to flat buyers. The new rule will expedite construction work around the city and have a positive bearing on construction activity.”

Civil society activists were not as pleased with the new rule. Former chief commissioner for the Right to Information, Shailesh Gandhi, said, “The administration feels that the growth of business interest is paramount while it is insensitive to citizen interests. Let them demonstrably show that new technology curbs noise pollution at construction sites effectively. I find it hard to believe this.” “Around Khar, where there is rampant construction activity, afternoon hours are difficult for senior citizens who look forward to a couple of hours of sleep,” said citizen activist Aftab Siddiqui. “The sound of tiles being cut is excruciatingly deafening. Till the BMC resorts to dismissals of its errant employees — rather than suspensions — for corruption and a nexus with developers, nothing good will be forthcoming for citizens.”

Indrani Malkani, managing trustee of the V Citizens Action Network, told The Hindu, “The extended hours for developers should be accompanied with riders to ensure adequate precaution to ensure noise levels from construction sites do not disturb residential neighbours. The enforcing agency should strictly enforce this. The distinction between private and public works has to be clear. Does the extended deadline also spill over to public construction activity?"

Mr. Jain sought to reassure citizens: “We as MCHI-CREDAI members will follow the order earnestly in a manner that it does not cause any inconvenience to the citizens.”

The writer is a freelance journalist.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 7:22:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/news/BMC-permits-four-more-construction-hours/article14421136.ece

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