OTHERS

Govt. under pressure to ease out KSPCB chief?

Bangalore Dec. 25. He has tried hard to bring several polluting industries under check and made serious efforts to constantly test the ambient air quality in Bangalore and make the air more breathable for citizens.

He is also likely to be connected with the work of the new Lakes Development Authority that is spending substantial funds to rejuvenate the fast disappearing lakes and tanks in and around Bangalore.

While environmentalists and concerned citizens are solidly behind the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) Chairman, Upendra Tripathy, a powerful lobby appears to be influencing the State Government to replace him with someone more likely to be softer with polluting industries and land-grabbers who have taken over several lakebeds on the outskirts of the City.

The KSPCB is expected to receive fairly huge funds to control air pollution in Bangalore. Funds will be coming from overseas agencies and from the Union Government. On another front, the board has been taking action by sending notices to a number of industries found to be violating environment laws.

These include distilleries and breweries, some of which are located in and around Bangalore.

These industries and distilleries were given deadlines to comply with pollution control norms such as modification to smoke emissions and treating effluents.

The board was strict with them and did not extend the deadlines when some of the industries sought it.

In fact, the board was pulled up by the Comptroller and Auditor-General in his report for apparently being too lenient in this regard.

More than 22 distilleries are reported to have been issued notice and some of them asked to spend money on undoing the environmental damage caused by them.

This is what appears to have made them bring pressure on the Government to change the board chairman.