BENGALURU: The vacant chairman post of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has become a matter of concern for state bureaucrats and department officials.
It has also become a matter of concern before the Supreme Court, National Green Tribunal, NGT appointed committees and the Karnataka High Court, where many cases pertaining to pollution are being heard and there is no representative from the Board.
This seat is vacant because present chairman MLA K Sudhakar, is one of the 15 rebel MLAs, who are still in Mumbai. Previously, retired Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (wildlife) C Jayram held the chair for two months.
KSPCB officials said that there was a need for a chairman as only he can take decisions and hold meetings. “He is the one who represents the board in courts and before the government. The chairman is the only signatory in KSPCB. However, with no chairman, the KSPCB has come to a halt. No new projects or decisions can be taken. No government order has been issued yet,” KSPCB sources said.
Sudhakar took over on June 20 and held only one internal meeting. He held no meeting and did not take any decisions either, KSPCB officials said.
According to government sources, it was unlikely that Sudhakar would continue as chairman for multiple reasons.
“His appointment was frowned upon by the BJP. Also, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has issued a set of guidelines to be followed while selecting a chairman and going by that, Sudhakar was not the right candidate. His appointment was a bone of contention between Congress and JD(S) ministers. While Congress opposed his appointment, JDS okayed it. Congress rejected Sudhakar’s name stating he was not qualified and the JDS defended the appointment stating that it was a
political decision similar to Lakshman, who was Siddarmaiah’s friend and choice,” a government source added.
According to CPCB norms, the chairman should have practical experience in matters pertaining to environment protection and should be nominated by the state government from among the members of local authorities functioning within the state. to represent the interest of agriculture, fisheries, industry, trade and other departments the state government thinks worthy of.
The government should also put out an order seeking objections from people and a select committee headed by Chief Secretary or higher post, should take the decision.