It is not just environmentalists and activists who think that the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) is understaffed to tackle a huge amount of paper work,such as the recent Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports. The newly appointed secretary of GPCB,R G Shah,also shares the same opinion.
Shah and his team of 456 people are facing an uphill task with an increase in the number of applications across the state due to rampant industrialisation.
It is true that we have a staff shortage,but we are trying to fix the problem, Shah said.
Meanwhile,the state governments claim of attracting investment of Rs 12 crore through multinationals at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit has become a concern not just for the environment activists but also for the GPCB.
An official from the Board said there are 40-odd engineers who have to go through scores of reports,carry out routine monitoring of the existing industries,process 300 to 400 pages of risk analysis and cater to the complaints of various agencies working to protect the environment from Global Warming.
Another official from the GPCB said on condition of anonymity that the concept of whistle blowing,introduced recently by the department as per the instructions of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to register serious complaints,has become
very popular with people becoming aware about health issues.
We are not complaining. There are several government departments that are facing a staff crunch. On the contrary,it has helped us to document various problems. The key issue is that of paper work, said the official,who also pointed out that despite using computer applications to register complaints,people keep coming with grievances.
Meanwhile,city-based activist Rohit Prajapati said staff shortage in GPCB is delaying various important reports on health hazards faced by people.
Board to recruit 76 new engineers
In an attempt to revamp the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB),R G Shah,the newly-appointed secretary of GPCB,is considering recruiting at least 76 new engineers and other staff.
Besides,two new centres will come up in Bhuj to monitor upcoming industries.
We are coming up with an office in Bhuj. Two new offices have been opened in Rajkot and Nadiad in Kheda district, Shah said.
He added that advertisements for recruitments will be up by next month. At present,there are 46 engineers for the state.