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Poll factor: Punjab Pollution Control Board 'goes slow' on raids

From 50 to 100 inspections per month, only ‘essential checks’ now

Poll factor: Punjab Pollution Control Board 'goes slow' on raids


Tribune News Service

Aman Sood

Patiala, March 3

For the past almost two months, the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has not resumed its drive to conduct surprise raids on various industries to check compliance of pollution norms.

From an average of around 50 to 100 raids or surprise inspections per month, the PPCB is now limited to “only essential checks”, following the elections.

Senior board officials said the special drive, which was “suspended” in December, was unlikely to be resumed till formation of a new government. Many senior field officials have claimed that they got verbal instructions from the top brass not to conduct any raids, primarily due to “political reasons”.

It’s because of election duty

There is no politics behind suspension of raids across the state. The real reason is that a majority of our staff is at the disposal of the respective DCs in the districts. We will resume the drive as soon as the employees are back on the field duty. —Karunesh Garg, Member Secretary, PPCB

However, officially PPCB claims that the raids against polluting industry had been suspended as field staff were on election-related duties. “Once they are back, raids will be conducted across the state,” it said.

“Since a majority of the industrialists have political affiliations, the authorities seem worried that conducting raids may raise a storm. Hence, we have been given verbal instructions not to conduct any raids,” said a senior PPCB engineer.

“A recent raid at a unit in Sangrur recently led to lot of political hullabaloo. We had to abandon the raid findings midway, following interference from the top,” he said.

Notably, in view of the fact that industry plays a significant role in raising funds during elections, the PPCB had stopped conducting raids on various industries, including distilleries, dyeing units, plastic manufacturers, brick kilns, battery manufacturers, etc.

Before December 2022, the board had issued show-cause notices to hundreds of violators while a few units were sealed for flouting pollution norms.

“On an average, we conduct around 100 raids every month to ensure compliance of pollution-related rules,” said Karunesh Garg, Member-Secretary, PPCB.

“Our routine checks are on for the moment. Yesterday we got a report on bio-medical waste being disposed of against norms in Mohali and our teams ensured action,” he added.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#Environment #Pollution #PPCB


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