Constitutional and Quasi-judicial Bodies (Part-9)

Environmental Related Bodies

Central Pollution Control Board

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), a statutory organisation, was constituted in September, 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. Further, it was entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 to serve as a field formation and provide technical services to the ministry of environment and forests of the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

The board consists of a full-time chairman, being a person having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of matters relating to environmental protection or a person having knowledge and experience in administering institutions dealing with the matters aforesaid, to be nominated by the central government; numbers, not exceeding five to be nominated by the central government to represent it; numbers not exceeding five to be nominated by the central government, from amongst the members of the state boards; number of non-officials, not exceeding three, to be nominated by the central government, to represent the interests of agriculture, fishery or industry or trade or any other interests; two persons to represent the companies or corporations owned, controlled or managed by the central government, to be nominated by it; and a full-time member-secretary, possessing qualifications, knowledge and experience of scientific, engineering or management aspects of pollution control, to be appointed by the central government.

The functions of the CPCB are to

    (i)   advise the central government on any matter concerning prevention and control of water and air pollution and improvement of the quality of air;

  (ii)   plan and cause to be executed a nation-wide programme for the prevention, control or abatement of water and air pollution;

(iii)   coordinate the activities of the state board and resolve disputes among them;

(iv)   provide technical assistance and guidance to the state boards, carry out and sponsor investigation and research relating to problems of water and air pollution, and for their prevention, control or abatement;

   (v)   plan and organise training of persons engaged in programme on the prevention, control or abatement of water and air pollution;

(vi)   organise through mass media, a comprehensive mass awareness programme on the prevention, control or abatement of water and air pollution;

(vii)   collect, compile and publish technical and statistical data relating to water and air pollution and the measures devised for their effective prevention, control or abatement;

(viii) prepare manuals, codes and guidelines relating to treatment and disposal of sewage and trade effluents as well as for stack gas cleaning devices, stacks and ducts;

(ix)   disseminate information in respect of matters relating to water and air pollution and their prevention and control;

   (x)   lay down, modify or annul, in consultation with the state governments concerned, the standards for stream or well, and lay down standards for the quality of air; and

(xi)   perform such other function as may be prescribed by the Government of India.

Evaluation of CPCB

The Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow in 2011 conducted a study on the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) with a focus on preparing a business plan of CPCB for the future and to assess organisational capabilities, strengths and weaknesses to achieve the plan.

According to the study the CPCB does not have sufficient teeth for pollution control and its infrastructure resources are not adequate to deliver the mandate. Although CPCB and respective state pollution control board (SPCB) are two independent institutions located at two different levels, they need to function jointly/cohesively and in a coordinated manner. The performance of CPCB in terms of its impact on pollution abatement and control depends largely on the efficiency and efficacy of SPCBs. The CPCB should, therefore, have a stake in the governance of state boards. For this purpose, there must be representation of CPCB in the governing boards of all SPCBs. This practice is being followed presently in Tripura.

There is no inbuilt performance review system of CPCB at regular interval by ministry of environment and forest (MoEF). The review should include both performance budgeting and perspective planning of CPCB.

Zonal offices of the CPCB are considered an extension arm of the CPCB for working closely with SPCBs. As an immediate measure, the present zonal offices should be strengthened by providing more human and infrastructure resources.

A committed and qualified strong workforce is required if the CPCB has to become a centre for excellence for pollution control. In order to attract desired people there must be enough provision for training and exposure visits of the scientific staff so that they are updated with new technological development taking place across the globe.

Availability of financial resources should be ensured if the CPCB has to perform its mandate efficiently. Presently, the CPCB is entirely dependent on government for funds. Accordingly, there must be quantum jump in financial support by government to CPCB.

It is also desirable that the CPCB should reduce its dependency for funds on MoEF and look forward to other avenues. The CPCB has to ensure that while utilising its scientific experts to provide consultancy for fund generation, its core mandate and functions should not be sacrificed in terms of quality and quantity.

Right from its inception, the CPCB has been given the responsibility for abatement and control of air and water pollution in the country by generating relevant data, providing scientific information, rendering technical inputs for formation of national policies, training and development of manpower and organising activities for promoting awareness at different levels of the government and public at large. Its role in compliance and enforcement has been mostly indirect through SPCBs.

In general, pollution control strategies are based on regulations as is evident from the enactment of a large number of regulatory laws over the years. Inadequate emphasis has been laid on strategies based on technologies or comprehensive information to stakeholders. The CPCB should play a more active role in developing new low-cost cleaner technologies as well as demonstrating latest technologies and provide relevant information related to causes of pollution and mechanisms to control pollution to the public and disclose the polluters publicly. Environment being a common property resource can be handled properly through collective efforts rather than enforcing the regulations. Here the CPCB has to play a proactive role in the future. The CPCB should work more closely with local communities and NGOs for creating awareness and knowledge about pollution abatement and control. There is a need for closer coordination with other ministries and organisations which are directly or indirectly related to pollution control.

Central Ground Water Board

The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), a statutory body, constituted under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, is the national apex agency entrusted with the responsibilities of providing scientific inputs for management, exploration, monitoring, assessment, augmentation and regulation of ground water resources of the country. The board was established in 1970 by renaming the Exploratory Tube wells Organisation.

The board is a multi-disciplinary scientific organisation consisting of hydrogeologists, geophysicists, chemists, hydrologists, hydrometeorologists and engineers and has its headquarters at Faridabad, Haryana. It is headed by the chairman and has four main wings, namely (i) Sustainable Management and Liaison (SML), (ii) Survey, Assessment and Monitoring (SAM), (iii) Exploratory Drilling and Materials Management (ED&MM) and (iv) Water Quality and Training and Technology Transfer (WQ&TT). Each wing is headed by a member.

Major activities being taken up by the board include macro/micro-level ground water management studies, exploratory drilling programme, monitoring of ground water levels and water quality through a network of ground water observation wells comprising both large diameter open wells and purpose-built bore/tube wells (piezometers), implementation of demonstrative schemes for artificial recharge and rainwater harvesting for recharge augmentation.

Periodic assessment of replenishable ground water resources of the country is carried out by the board jointly with the concerned state government agencies. Geophysical studies, remote sensing and GIS studies and ground water modeling studies are taken up to supplement these activities. The board also takes up special studies on various aspects of ground water sector such as ground water depletion, sea water ingress, ground water contamination, conjunctive use of surface and ground water, water balance etc. It also organises various capacity building activities for personnel of its own as well as central/state government organisations engaged in various activities in ground water sector as well as mass awareness campaigns on the imp ortance of water conservation and judicious ground water management.

The board regularly publishes scientific reports based on the data generated through various investigations for dissemination to the stakeholders.

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