Who’ll Bail Out Ailing Pollution Control Board, Assam (PCBA)?
GUWAHATI: When going gets tough for the Pollution Control Board, Assam (PCBA), there is none to bail it out. Be it men or money, the Board is not at all self-sustaining.
It was on August 28 this year that the principal bench of the NGT (National Green Tribunal) in Delhi directed all States to fill up all vacant posts in their respective pollution control boards (PCBs). However, the NGT’s order has no takers in Assam. The State government has not taken any measures to fill up the 68 vacant posts in the PCBA as yet. The crux of the problem with the PCBA is that it cannot sustain itself with the meagre revenue it generates. The Board collects around Rs 22 crore annually from industrial units as revenue, but has to spend around Rs 2 crore monthly (Rs 24 crore annually) for employees’ salaries. There are a whole lot of other expenditures as well. Thus, the Board is being run in deficits. Against such a backdrop, any fresh recruitment is bound to add to its burgeoning deficit. Earlier, the State Government used to provide around Rs 40 lakh yearly to the PCBA. However, that practice was stopped about a decade back.
The break-up of posts lying vacant in the PCBA are – four scientific posts, 10 technical posts and eight administrative posts in Group A; five scientific posts and six administrative posts in Group B; four scientific posts and 17 administrative posts in Group C; and 14 posts in Group D.
The PCBA has eight regional offices – two in Guwahati and one each in Bongaigaon, Tezpur, Golaghat, Silchar, Dibrugarh and Sivasagar.
The PCBA hits headline as and when there are violations of pollution control norms, especially during the Diwali, various pujas and festivals.
Other than the State government, is there anyone to bail the Board out from the fund and staff crises? Or will the PCBA be tougher in revenue generation that may bail it out of the current crisis? Either will do, but the second is the better option.