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Uttarakhand Pollution Board a failure: CAG audit report

Citing that the shortages in the posts hampered the UEPPCB to discharge its mandate effectively, the report added that the board was unsuccessful in preparing and submitting the annual report.

Published: 10th December 2019 09:47 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th December 2019 09:47 PM   |  A+A-

Air pollution

For representational purposes (Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)

Express News Service

DEHRADUN: Despite a report by Indian Council of Medical Research in 2016 indicating that air pollution is the second-highest risk factor driving most death and disability in Uttarakhand, Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board failed to control air pollution, said a report of Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

The report of the CAG which for year 2017-18 which was table in Uttarakhand state assembly on Tuesday stated, "Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board (UEPPCB) failed to make any comprehensive programme for prevention, control or abatement of air pollution."

The audit was conducted from March 2018 to June 2018 covering the period of three years from 2015-18. 

The report pointed out that the monitoring by the UEPPCB was found deficient as it was monitoring only three air pollutants (SO2, NO2 and PM10) against the 12 identified pollutants, and that too was not being carried out as per the prescribed norms of 'National Air Quality Monitoring Programme'.

The Central Pollution Control Board in year 2009 had notified 'National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) with 12 identified pollutants. 

It included five gaseous pollutants such as SO2, NO2, Ozone (O3), CO and Ammonia (NH3), two dust related parameters (PM10 and PM2.5), three metals (Lead, Nickel and Arsenic) and two organic pollutants {Benzene and Benzo(a) Pyrene (BaP)-particulate}. 

The report said that the board also failed to discharge its regulatory function to prevent and control the emission of pollutants spread into the atmosphere by the brick kilns and mining units. 

Citing that the shortages in the critical posts hampered the UEPPCB to discharge its mandate effectively, the report added that the board was unsuccessful in preparing and submitting the annual report relating to its functioning to the state legislature. 

The report also stated that in the absence of data regarding industrial units operating in Dehradun, the UEPPCB could not ensure that the industrial units undertook measures that are required to control air pollution.

"It did not evolve any mechanism to watch the renewal of consent after its expiry. Sixty-six per cent of CTO (Consent to Operate) were not issued within the prescribed time during 2015-18 by Regional Office, Dehradun," said the report.

Further elaborating on inaction by the state transport department, the report said that it did not take adequate measures towards implementation of the provision regarding re-registration of 15 years’ old vehicles.

According to the report, the department did not have any effective mechanism to ensure that the vehicles turn up for emission testing after expiry of their PUC certificate which resulted in a shortfall in coverage of vehicles for PUC (Pollution Under Control) certificate. 

The central government on December 15, 2017, informed Lok Sabha that Dehradun was the most polluted city among those classified as Eco-sensitive cities in India in two out of three parameters- SO2 and Particulate Matter 10 (PM10).

According to Greenpeace report for the year 2016, Dehradun was ranked the 5th highest polluted city in respect of PM10.

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