Senior officers to watch high pollution areas as govt says thrust on compliance

The officers have been directed to undertake field visits and review the progress at least once every quarter in these CPAs in coordination with Central Pollution Control Board.

PTI| Updated: Oct 20, 2015, 15:49 PM IST

New Delhi: Environment Ministry Tuesday said that 20 of its senior officers will undertake assessment and periodical review of Critically Polluted Areas (CPAs) as it underlined that its "thrust" now will be on compliance after it has "enabled ease of doing business".

The officers designated for the purpose have been directed to undertake field visits and review the progress at least once every quarter in these CPAs in coordination with Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

"Environment Ministry has decided that 20 joint secretary or joint secretary-level officers of the ministry will undertake assessment and periodical review of CPAs based on Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) for effective implementation of the action plans to mitigate pollution," an official statement said.

The officers will also monitor the progress vis-a-vis the implementation of action plans in these CPAs, observe the deficiencies and submit reports to this effect to CPCB and state boards while intimating the ministry.

"We have provided transparent processes, done away with delays and enabled ease of doing business for responsible businesses. Now, our thrust will be on compliance," Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said.

In 2009-10, a comprehensive environmental assessment had been conducted jointly by CPCB and IIT, Delhi, in 88 prominent industrial clusters.

Of these 88 industrial clusters, 43 industrial clusters with a CEPI score of 70 and above were identified as CPAs.

The remedial action plans for all the 43 CPAs were drawn up by State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) in consultation with CPCB and the Technical Review Committee (TRC) comprising experts.

These action plans addressed various environmental issues of the CPAs and are currently under various stages of implementation, the statement said.

The Ministry had imposed a temporary moratorium on January 13, 2010, on consideration of developmental projects in the 43 CPAs, including projects in the pipeline for environmental clearance.

The moratorium was later lifted for 28 CPAs in a phased manner based on the initiation of groundwork towards implementation of formulated action plans and CEPI scores.

At present, the moratorium is in force in seven CPAs and re-imposition of the moratorium has been kept in abeyance in eight other CPAs, the statement added.