Interviews

China has attained remarkable success in Air Pollution: Dr. Ravi Kant Pathak

Dr. Ravikant Pathak, Associate Professor, and Atmospheric Scientist in the Department of Chemistry & Molecular Biology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, and Post Doc from Carnegie Mellon University in USA spoke to Sanjaya K. Mishra (Published in Enviro Annotations dated 22nd January 2020)

Mr. K. P. Singh, Director (Construction & Operations), M/s Global Realty Venture Limited, New Delhi talks to Sanjaya K. Mishra. Mr. Singh has enormous experience of over 3 decades in several iconic national and international construction projects.

You must be aware of two notifications the MoEF&CC introduced in November 2018, in which the construction projects are mostly made out of the purview of EIA Notification. What is your view as a domain expert?

It is unfortunate. On the one hand we are talking about decentralization of power, and when a government act on it, some people are too scared to bear that change. At the same time, as democracy prevails in our country, the government should also have consulted with experts before taking such important decisions. The basic objective should remain sustainable and progressive investments. I believe that the new government will address all concerns and objections and also take everyone into the same page.

Do you think that it was a concerted plan or a hurried action or an act of some other reason not shared with the public?

I would like to reiterate, in a democratic country like India, the Government should have consulted all stakeholders before taking a decision.

Do you think Indian Municipal Corporations and Panchayats can take up such responsibilities?

Decentralization of power and Capacity building is a continuous process of development. There were similar concerns when SEIAAs were formed. So far, there is no such legal complication found in the cases of projects cleared by the SEIAAs. Therefore, I am optimistic that an institution, once empowered, delivers. We have many experts available at different levels, who could participate in decision-making processes. Moreover, the power decentralization could have reduced post-project legal hassles with effective use of single-window clearance policies.

In the post-Katowice scenario, we are expecting much funds to flow into the green building sector. What are the challenges we have?

Green Building is a sustainable construction concept, which meets the needs of the present with good consideration of future demands and requirements. Sustainability in the construction industry is brought basically by good technical use of sustainable materials and energy etc. with simultaneous minimization in wastage and pollution. The number of green buildings in the country is rapidly growing. The biggest challenge for the green building sector is lack of awareness and demand among end users. Another challenge is the availability of viable cost-effective technologies. The concept of green building has got a substantial boost, since the last couple of years. Still, there are many stones remaining unturned. We have to imbibe technology and restructure the same to fit into our cases.

How to overcome those challenges?

By exploring cost-effective technologies. For example, the adoption of solar energy was a good measure. But, it was high on capital investment. As, lately, the CAPEX in solar energy utilization has come down, it has become popular. Also, there is a need for open communications between corporates, research institutions, government and society (activists and buyers). Projects should not take too much of a long time for completion. Infrastructure must be created by the government at the same time when it brings in new policy or amendments.

What are the parameters primarily considered in a green building project?

The term Green Building refers to a structure and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle. The Green Building project differs from conventional building projects by assigning equal priorities to economic, social, and environmental goals. It has now been universally accepted that it is critical to the design of environmentally responsible buildings for sustainable development. Research shows that Green Building improves tenantsā€˜ satisfaction and health, enabling higher individual productivity in respective areas of expertise. As a result of the increased interest in Green Building concepts and practices, a number of organizations have developed standards, codes and rating systems conservation of water, energy, and building materials, and occupant comfort and health.

How is the construction industry responding to the Construction & Demolition Waste Rules?

The major source of Construction and Demolition waste is from the demolition of existing structures. Eliminating wastes, minimizing wastes and reusing imminent wastes need to be practiced. Recycling of demolition waste is not new. It was first carried out after the Second World War in Germany to tackle the problem of disposing of large amounts of demolition waste caused by the war and simultaneously generate raw material for reconstruction. Having said that, again state-of-art proven technologies should be adopted and the final disposal should be carried out as per the legal provisions.