Need to exempt RERA-registered realty projects from GRAP guidelines | The Financial Express

Need to exempt RERA-registered realty projects from GRAP guidelines

Authorities should take a case-by-case approach and ensure that the developers who are following the GRAP guidelines are not affected.

Need to exempt RERA-registered realty projects from GRAP guidelines
GRAP is an environmental action plan specially formulated to check the NCR's deteriorating air quality.

Air pollution emerges as a major health threat in the winter months every year. The reasons — both human and climatic — are many and often intertwined with each other. Both Central and state governments are making immense efforts to curb this menace. Authorities like the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) have been specially constituted to take proactive measures to lessen the impact of air pollution on the masses.

NGT, for example, has come out with a set of comprehensive guidelines outlining good practices to be adopted all through the years with special emphasis on the months when air pollution reaches alarming levels. CAQM, on the other hand, has also prepared a contingency plan to lessen air pollution levels through the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

What is GRAP

GRAP is an environmental action plan specially formulated to check the NCR’s deteriorating air quality. It is a step-by-step response system which was formulated by the Environmental Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA) jointly with the Delhi government in 2017. It is purely an emergency response mechanism and is only enforced when air pollution reaches a certain threshold. The responses are upgraded or downgraded depending on the air quality, the system is scalable and is enforced with the help of local authorities. Violators are punished with high penalties.

To ensure the smooth function of GRAP, a coordination mechanism has been established among thirteen different agencies, including state governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Rajasthan, including the respective state governments, state pollution control boards, traffic police, Central Public Works Department, and Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organizations (PESOs) from each state.

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Categorization of GRAP measures and actions taken

Every level of air pollution has been classified into the following categories in accordance with the presence of particulate matter.

Moderate to poor – When particulate matter PM2.5 is at 61-120 µg/cu.m. or PM10 at 101-350 µg/cu.m.

Very poor – When the particulate matter reaches 121-250 µg/cu. m. for PM2.5 or 351-430 µg/cu.m. for PM10.

Severe – When PM2.5 levels cross 250 µg/cu.m. or PM10 crosses 430 µg/cu.m.

Severe-plus or emergency – When PM2.5 concentrations shoot over 300 µg/cubic meter or PM10 levels are above 500 µg/cu. m. for more than 48 hours.

Real estate sector and GRAP

Even though air pollution is a concern for everyone, for the real estate industry it has at times meant some severe restrictions. While the industry is with the authorities in its efforts to curb the rising pollution levels, it has certain reservations. For example, it has been roughly estimated that a one-month construction ban delays the construction of a project by at least two to three months. Further, the process of RERA registration itself is stringent enough to bind the real estate developers to curb their pollution footprints. Besides, developers also undertake regular water sprinkling and other measures as mandated by the authorities apart from enforcing all the pollution mitigating measures like installation of anti-smog machines and wind-breakers, among others.

Such a blanket ban apart from delaying the construction poses a major risk of increasing costs for the customers. Besides, a blanket ban also affects construction workers as the real estate sector is among the largest employers of casual labourers. Therefore, the real estate fraternity is of the view that authorities should take a case-by-case approach and ensure that the developers who are following the guidelines are not affected. Further, the industry would also request the authorities that they should consider the RERA-registered projects as projects of public interest and exempt them from GRAP guidelines.

(By Manoj Gaur, President, CREDAI NCR, and CMD, Gaurs Group)

Disclaimer: This is the personal view of the author and not necessarily that of the financialexpress.com

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First published on: 29-10-2022 at 12:20 IST