PCB chief calls it quits

After board members unanimously pass a no-confidence motion against him

State Pollution Control Board (PCB) Chairman Ajit Haridas resigned on Wednesday night, days after the board members unanimously passed a no-confidence motion against him and the State government sought an explanation from him based on the board’s recommendations.

Dr. Haridas had been at loggerheads with the rest of the board members on PCB’s issuance of a show-cause notice to the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation charging an environmental compensation fine of ₹14 crore for its alleged failure in complying with solid waste management rules. The members alleged that this and similar decisions against other local bodies were taken by the Chairman unilaterally.

The show-cause notice, which came before the Vattiyurkavu Assembly byelection in which the then Mayor V.K. Prasanth was a candidate, had kicked up a political storm with the Opposition making it one of the campaign issues. The Corporation had maintained that the notice was issued without considering all the efforts made in developing a model of waste treatment at source. Mayor K. Sreekumar had alleged that the action was being taken against the Corporation because it rejected a proposal for a waste-to-energy plant submitted by the PCB Chairman, before he took charge.

High Court stay

Early in December, the Kerala High Court stayed further proceedings on the board’s show-cause notice issued in September against the Corporation. The board members passed the unanimous resolution against him at a special meeting held on December 27.

Dr. Haridas confirmed that he had conveyed his decision to step down to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. He told The Hindu that he was yet to receive a communication that the government had accepted his resignation.

“There is no provision for the board members to move a no-confidence motion against the Chairman and, as such, the resolution is illegal.” Asked about the show-cause notice issued to the Corporation, he said he had gone strictly by the rules as he was expected to do in his capacity as PCB Chairman.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 12:32:08 PM |

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