Local Goa News

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

No politicians, bureaucrats as PCB chairman: NGT

Tribunal makes knowledge, experience in environment protection mandatory for Chairman and Member Secretary of pollution boards

PANJIM: Stating that the proper constitution and functioning of the State Pollution Board (SPB) is a matter of serious concern, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday made special knowledge or practical experience in environment protection studies mandatory for the post of Chairman and Member Secretary of SPBs.

Directing State governments to examine the appointments of their existing Chairmen and Member Secretaries in their SPBs and set them aside within three months if they are violating the law, NGT made it clear that there have to be five members representing the State government, five members from local authorities, three non-official members and two members to represent industry or the corporate world.
“Proper constitution and functioning of the State Board is a matter of serious concern which should be taken up by the State government with full responsibility so as to ensure its smooth functioning,” the judgement stated.
The judgement, passed by a five-member bench, was in the matter of Rajendra Singh Bandhari versus State of Uttarakhand and Ministry of Environment and Forest, wherein he alleged that the appointment of chairman and member secretary on SPBs is in violation of Water (prevention and control of pollution) Act 1974 and Air (prevention and control of pollution) Act 1981.
The NGT order has come as a relief to Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) which was functioning without a full-fledged chairman since March, this year. The State government was forced to give additional charges to the Chief Secretary, that too in violation of the High court order, which had noted that such appointments are in conflict of interest.
The NGT in its order has directed the States to adhere to the Water Act and Air Act while constituting the Board. “Numerous powers and functions lies with the Board which are by and large technical in nature and it requires that a Chairman and Member Secretary has to have adequate knowledge and experience in respect of matter relating to environment protection so as to see that the Board functions properly, in accordance with law,” the judgment stated.
“Therefore it is imperative that for being eligible to be a Chairman one should have vast information and deep understanding through exceptionally good learning in environment protection laws or has knowledge which he has gained through practice after actually doing or use of something rather than theory,” it added.
NGT has clarified that the appointment as Chairman or Member Secretary should not be by virtue of their designation in service of the State Government like Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary, Environment Secretary or even Politician like former Speaker, Minister, MLA, all literary persons and non technical persons.
“A tenure unaffected by political and bureaucratic interference would be extremely important for the officials to function fearlessly and in accordance to the mandate of the legislation as given under relevant Environmental Protection Laws like Water Act, Air Act,” the NGT noted.
Directing the States to notify the rules under Water and Air acts for the appointments of the two posts NGT said that the term of the chairman and member secretary should not be extended beyond one term.

Herald Goa News

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