NEW DELHI: The post of the chief of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has been lying vacant for nearly four years, despite the hue and cry over the rising pollution in Delhi, as the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has not been able to find a suitable scientist.
The principal role of the CPCB, set up in September 1974, is to promote prevention and control, and abatement of water and air pollution in the country. It also has an important role in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project of cleaning the Ganges.
The government’s apathy towards CPCB can be gauged from the fact that after its chairperson SP Gautam demitted office in February 2012, the board has been without a full-time chief. The charge is being handled by a joint secretary in the ministry. Environmentalists feel it is a scientific post, and the government should take a decision in this regard soon.
“The post has been lying vacant. We hope the government takes a decision on the appointment as the Supreme Court and National Green Tribunal (NGT) are taking the lead in announcing pollution control measures in Delhi,” a ministry official said. Scientists who have excelled in pollution control are not applying for the post.
Appointment to the CPCB chairman’s post was scrapped in 2013, 2014 and 2015 by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, on the grounds that no one met the desired qualifications. In 2013, the NGT restrained CPCB from going ahead with the selection procedure, as candidates did not meet the eligibility criteria.
After advertising again, the ministry has received applications, but is yet to shortlist names. In July, it had shortlisted 17 candidates, including IAS officers, Indian Forest Service officers and scientists. It included forest secretary Sunil Pandey, IAS Sanjeev Kumar (UP) and IPS officers Mudit Kumar Singh and Bipin Bihari. Scientists JS Pandey and SD Singh also had applied.