New Delhi: Expressing displeasure over the “limited” role played by the Central and State Pollution Control Boards (CPCB & SPCB) in issues having environmental impacts, a Parliamentary standing committee has said the boards enter the picture only after clearances have already been given.
“Environment clearances for mining, setting up of industries are given by the Central or state governments concerned and CPCB and SPCB do not have any say in these matters,” the Panel on Science and Technology, environment and forests has said in a report on the functioning of CPCB.
According to the report which was tabled in both the Houses of Parliament, the green watchdogs enter the picture only after clearance has been given to set up industries with their role being limited to giving a pollution control standard for effluent discharge.
Taking serious note of the “ineffective” working style of the Boards, panel members said they were being made to bear the brunt of such clearances as they have to take necessary pollution control and mitigation measures after the licence is issued.
For instance, the panel said, “Average inspection per industry per year for Maharashtra is .3 while for Karnataka it is .63 times.”
Even for Gujarat, though the State Pollution Control Board is able to inspect all industries twice every year, it is unlikely that these two inspections are enough to ensure compliance throughout the year, the panel said.
“The Committee feels that economic development should be given priority but not such as overriding priority as to endanger the environment, humans and living beings,” it said and added “the need of the hour is to strike a fine balance between economic development and environment.”