New Delhi, Nov 2 (PTI) In an ambitious plan to tackle Delhi's persisting pollution problem and attracting IT and related businesses, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Monday no manufacturing units will be allowed in new industrial areas of the city and these zones would be available only to services and hi-tech industries.
The move will also boost Delhi's economy, besides helping the city become a hub of hi-tech and service industries which include IT-enabled services, call centres, software and hardware sector, and media programme production as they will now be provided land at cheaper rates by authorities in industrial areas.
Addressing an online press conference, Kejriwal said the Centre has okayed the Delhi government's proposal by changing the definition of industry in the Delhi Master Plan 2021 and issued a notification to implement it. Hi-tech and services activities will now be recognised as industry in the city. Even the existing manufacturing units within the boundaries of the city will be given an option to shift to the services sector under the new policy, which, many feel, is aimed at regaining the edge that Delhi has lost to its suburbs like Noida and Gurgaon in the services sector over past few decades, besides tackling the pollution issue. Kejriwal said the existing manufacturing units, which cause pollution, will be given the option to shift to service or hi-tech industry.
However, no action will be taken against the existing manufacturing units and they can continue their operations, but they will also be encouraged to make the shift, a government official clarified.
The chief minister expressed hope that there would be no manufacturing industry in Delhi as their contribution to pollution is quite significant.
Asserting that Delhi''s economy is mainly based on service industry, he said, hi-tech and service industry will be provided more space at cheaper rates in industrial areas.
'The service and hi-tech industry were, so far, covered under office category in the Master Plan and could open only in commercial areas. So, due to very high rates in commercial areas, these were not opening in Delhi and were going to Gurgaon, Noida and Faridabad instead,' Kejriwal said.
Now, such establishments need not go to other cities as they will get more space at cheaper rates in industrial areas of Delhi, he said.
In service and hi-tech industry category, charted accountants and lawyers can also open their offices, which currently fall under office category in Delhi's Master Plan. That is why they were only allowed in commercial areas, the chief minister said.
Offices of media, software industry and IT service industry, ITES, BPOs, vocational and educational institutions, Internet and e-mail service providers, television programme production, research and development, offices of architects and placement services and the likes can also be set up in new industrial areas, he added.
Manufacturing industry has been a major cause of concern for the city's rising air as well as water pollution.
According to an analysis by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, a Delhi-based think tank, industries contribute to two to 29 per cent of the city's air pollution. However, transportation contributes the most -- 18 to 39 percent -- to Delhi's air pollution.
Road dust is the second largest source of air pollution in the city (18 to 38 percent), thermal power plants (three to 11 per cent) and construction (8 per cent).
The chief minister hoped that the face of industrial areas in Delhi will change and pollution-causing manufacturing industries like steel and plastic will be gradually replaced by the service and hi-tech industries.
Kejriwal thanked Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, saying this 'historic step' will prove decisive in reducing pollution.
'I thank Hardeep S Puri ji for approving our proposal to amend master plan to change definition of industrial activity. Earlier, manufacturing was permitted which led to pollution and filth. Now, only hi-tech and service industry will be permitted. Industrial areas will become neat, clean and green,' he tweeted.
Brijesh Goyal, the Delhi convenor of AAP's trade and industry wing, said there are around 3.5 lakh small and big manufacturing units in the national capital. He said the government's move will also generate employment and increase the government's tax collection.
'This is a good step that the service sector will be recognised as industry. No action will be taken against the existing manufacturing units,' Goyal said.
In 2012, several small-scale industrial units from Delhi's Mayapuri had shifted to newly-created Narela and Bawana industrial areas. PTI VIT BUN NSD NSD