New Delhi: The Central Pollution Control Board, or CPCB, the statutory body tasked with preventing and controlling air and water pollution, has been reduced to a “near-defunct body", according to the parliamentary standing committee on science and technology, environment and forests. The committee, headed by V. Maitreyan, an All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, or AIADMK, member of Parliament, submitted a scathing report on CPCB to Parliament on Tuesday.

Cleaning up: A parliamentary standing committee has proposed the inclusion of environment protection in the Concurrent List. Ramesh Pathania / Mint

The board, which has been operating without a chairman for the past two years, is dominated by government representatives and cannot be expected to act as an environmental watchdog, the report said. And 77% of the chairpersons and 55% of member-secretaries in state pollution control boards are not qualified to hold those posts, it said.

The report has proposed trimming the size of the board, inclusion of environment protection in the Concurrent List that would make it both a Central and state subject, and offering financial autonomy for the organization.

Calls to CPCB’s acting chairman J.M. Mauskar went unanswered.

An insufficient workforce is one problem facing pollution control boards. For instance, a technical employee in Gujarat Pollution Control Board spends only 1.77 days to monitor an industry in a year, while the comparative figure in Karnataka is 1.72 days, and in Maharashtra it is 1.23 days.