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Karnataka Pollution Control Board Chairman - Qualifications?

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Pollution

An interesting development caught my attention.  Would not have noticed in such detail if I was not following the PCB for some other issues.

Dr. Vaman Acharya (MBBS) has been appointed as chairman of the Pollution Control Board after the term of Mr. A.S. Sadashivaiah came to an end. This appointment has been subject of some PILs in court.

The govt first appointed Mr. R. Sridharan, a serving IAS officer as the ad-hoc chairman. That appointment was challenged in court (different versions in different papers.  DH says it is because Sridharan is a serving IAS officer. DNA says it is because Sridharan does not have a master's degree).

Now the govt appointed Dr. Acharya.  Who is Dr. Acharya?

According to DH , he is"An MBBS graduate, Acharya discontinued his practice in the mid-80s to pursue his passion, which included setting up a compost manufacturing firm. Acharya owns Sunrise Compost near Machohalli on Magadi Road, which produces four to eight tonnes of organic manure every day using the BBMP garbage. His company’s only competitor in the City is Terra Firma." Dr. Acharya is also a very prominent member of the state BJP party.

Now the appointment had a lot of political tussle involved (which strongly indicates that the PCB is a revenue source for the govt). See that story in the Herald here.   Many of you will also have read the recent story on lokayukta raids on PCB office.

See story in the Hindu here. There are many other sources. A Bangalore mirror story here also is interesting.  Around the time Sadananda Gowda demitted office, there was another news item about mass transfers in the PCB, another controversy, here. The point I am making that all this political intrest points to significant monetary dealings happening within the PCB.  I can confirm that from other sources as well.

So now, what is the problem with Dr. Acharya's appointment? The Water Act of 1974 specifies the requirements for appointing a state PCB chairman. One aspect that bothers me is conflict of interest.  Dr, Acharya has owns a composting company and now is going to head the organization that enforces the municipal solid waste handling rules? The second question is - is he qualified?  The PCB regulates a wide range of activities and has enormous power, if it really wants to do things.

The Water Act says the below about appointing the chairman.

1) The State Government shall, with effect from such date 6*** as it may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint, constitute a 7[State Pollution Control Board], under such name as may be specified in the notification, to exercise the powers conferred on the perform the functions assigned to that Board under this Act.

(2) A State Board shall consist of the following members, namely:-

(a) a 8[*** chairman, being a person having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of 9[matters relating to environmental protection] or a person having knowledge and experience in administering institutions dealing with the matters aforesaid, to be nominated by the State Government.

If you ask me, it is not clear whether Dr. Acharya is qualified to head the PCB by virtue of being the owner of a composting company.   There have to be better qualified people around.  The political angle, potential conflict of interest etc. are additional flags.  What do people think?

 

Comments

murali772's picture

pollution licensing board

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The conflict of interest angle is too glaring to be ignored. I don't know how the government even dared to make such an appointment.

As to how the KSPCB is more of a cash-cow for the ruling party and its cohorts, and least of all a regulatory body, even as the environment is being subjected to every kind of depradation by all and sundry, has already been debated on PRAJA (here). Perhaps, we need to do more.
 

Muralidhar Rao
amithpallavoor's picture

Dr Vamacharya still continues

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Dr Vamacharya still continues to be the KPSCB Chairman,

He is playing the moral police by suggesting measures such as banning nightlife. It is not surprising since he comes from a party, which has conservative views despite calling itself Pro Market. They floated Swadeshi Jagran Manch in the 90s to oppose FDI.

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