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In Times of Pollution, Watchdog Remains Headless

Published: 20th December 2015 06:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th December 2015 06:14 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: Even as there is a hue and cry over rising pollution in Delhi, the post of chief of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has been lying vacant for nearly four years as the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change hasn’t been able to find a “suitable” scientist.

The principal role of the Central Pollution Control Board, constituted in September 1974, is to promote the prevention and control of water and air pollution in the country.

It also has an important role in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s clean Ganga project as well.

After S P Gautam demitted office in February 2012, the Central Pollution Control Board  has been running without a full-time chief.

The charge is being held by a joint secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. Environmentalists feel the government should immediately take a decision in this regard. “The post has been lying vacant. We hope the government takes a decision on the appointment as the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal are taking the lead in announcing pollution control measures in Delhi,” an official of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change said. Scientists who have expertise in pollution control are not applying for the post, said sources. Appointment to the post was scrapped in 2013, 2014 and 2015 by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet on the grounds that no candidate had the desired qualification. In 2013, the National Green Tribunal restrained the Central Pollution Control Board  from going ahead with the selection procedure as candidates didn’t meet the eligibility criteria.

After advertising the vacant post again, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has received some applications but is yet to shortlist candidates.

In July, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change shortlisted 17 candidates, including senior IAS and IFS officers and scientists.

The shortlist included Forest Secretary Sunil Pandey, Uttar Pradesh IAS officer Sanjeev Kumar and IPS officers Mudit Kumar Singh and Bipin Bihari. Scientists J S Pandey and S D Singh had also applied for the post. 



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