ANDHRA PRADESH

Pollution monitoring powers to DFOs mooted

Satyasundar Barik

The OSPCB is likely to meet next week and take a decision in this regard



The proposal is made in the wake of increasing burden on OSPCB officials

Views of revenue officials sought on the issue



BHUBANESWAR: The Forest and Environment Department has submitted a proposal to the Orissa State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) to delegate certain pollution monitoring powers to divisional forest officers (DFOs) by declaring them board officials.

The move was contemplated in the wake of ever-increasing burden on OSPCB officials to keep track on polluting units in the State. "We have given proposal to declare DFOs and Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACFs) board officials. The sharing of certain power would certainly lessen burden on board officials. However, all depends on OSPCB, which is a statutory board," Bijay Ketan Patnaik, Director of Environment, said on Wednesday.

The OSPCB board is likely to meet next week and take a decision in this regard. The board has eight regional offices excluding one at Bhubaneswar. On an average, there are three technical officials to monitor polluting units spreading across several sectors.

Herculean task

It appeared to be Herculean task to keep tab on pollution generated by 167 large, 471 medium and 2116 small industries by less than 30 field staffs at different point of time.

Besides, these officials have to take care of 104 urban local bodies and medical institutions in the State.

If the proposal was cleared by the board, the DFO could exercise power under provisions of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution Act, 1974, Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, and rules framed under the Environment (Protection) Act.

The DFOs could be particularly effective when a polluting industry nowingly evades pollution prevention measures during night or odd hours to lower cost of production.

"We have already taken a decision empowering DFOs to check plastic having less than 20 micro thickness," Mr. Patnaik said.

He said the OSPCB had already mooted proposal for delegating powers to tehesildar to monitor brick kiln and stone crushers in their respective areas.

"We have sought views of revenue departments on the issue. If the response comes in affirmative, then the monitoring exercise will get lot easier," the state environment director said.



The proposal is made in the wake of increasing burden on OSPCB officials

Views of revenue officials sought on the issue





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