BENGALURU: The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) came under severe criticism from the office of the Accountant General (Economic and Revenue Sector) which submitted audit reports for the year ended March 2017 to the state government on Thursday.
The report includes a performance audit of the KIADB and a thematic audit of KSPCB. Several irregularities were highlighted in the functioning of both bodies.B K Mukherji, Accountant General (E and RS) said on Thursday, “28,719 acres of land were held under preliminary notification without completing acquisition process between 2011-12 and 2016-17 causing hardship to land owners as they could not carry out any activity on the land. Against a target of one lakh acres, 1.15 lakh acres were identified but 50,887 acres were notified. No perspective plan and annual action plan was prepared. The acquisition of land was poor and the development of industrial areas was bad. It could become a potential environmental hazard as basic provisions were not maintained.”
The report also highlights the fact that basic infrastructure like common effluent treatment plant, sewage treatment plant, bulk water supply and power sub-station had not been provided in 4,077 operational units in 38 industrial areas in four divisional offices which had been checked.“An estimated 2,571 million litres of untreated industrial and domestic waste per annum was let off as surface discharge in six industrial areas,” Mukherji said.
KSPCB, too, received its fair share of brickbats in the report, which says the board avoided doing the first thing that a PCB was expected to do — create a detailed database of polluting sources and pollution loads for the state.
“KSPCB has been around for more than 40 years and as of March 2017, they did not have such a list. There is no mechanism to monitor the validity period of consent for operation granted to various industries. They have a record of 379 units in 13 regional offices which were operating without consent,” he said.
According to the audit, of the 162 industrial areas in the state consisting of 18,578 units, only 7,451 units are covered by common effluent treatment plant facility.“STPs should have been in place in all local bodies by 2014-15. The KSPCB did not prepare a comprehensive plan. Even efforts to monitor the water quality of 189 lakes in and around Bengaluru were piecemeal and a comprehensive effort was lacking till March 2017,” he said.
The board recently released a comprehensive report after the audit. He further said the board had failed to take action against 33 highly polluting industrial units in the state, which were not complying with any pollution control norms.