Head office will intervene only if there is a problem,say officials
In a major reprieve for the industry in Punjab,the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has decided to decentralise the powers vested with the head office and allow field officers to grant no-objection certificates (NOC) to industrialists. The decision was taken at a high-level meeting of the PPCB last week.
Senior PPCB officials said any industrialist with an investment up to Rs 15 crore would not have to make rounds of the PPCB head office in Patiala any more as field officers up to the rank of chief engineers had been authorised to give clearance. Their (officers) accountability has also been fixed on these. The head office will come into the picture only if there is any problem, said an official.
According to the new decision,the zonal office can now give sanction to investments up to Rs 15 crore. The amount was earlier Rs 5 crore. Hospitals up to 400-bed capacity,too,will get NOCs directly from the zonal office. Earlier,hospitals above 200 beds had to move to the PPCB headquarters for a clearance either by the chairman or the member secretary.
The recent decisions,however,come with a rider for the officers whose performance will be closely monitored and action will be initiated in case of harassment to any industrialist.
PPCB Chairman Rajat Aggarwal said the decision had been taken to get rid of unnecessary workload in the head office.
Once the workload decreases,we will be able to tighten our noose on violators and take effective steps to stop the spread of pollution in Punjab, he added.
According to Aggarwal,procuring an NOC from the PPCB will be easy if an industrialist fulfils all norms under the hazardous waste management system and gets sanctions from other departments. This will also mean that they will not have to travel to Patiala for every sanction. This will save their as well as our time, he said.
PPCB has,meanwhile,decided to make the process online within the next six months. Once we get the system clearance from the Central Pollution Control Board,we will make the entire working of our department available on the internet, claimed a senior official.