Environment dept in quandary, few boards lying defunct
Sixteen years after formation, the Bio Diversity Board, Coastal Zone Regulatory Authority and the East Kolkata Wetland Authority under the Pollution Control Board are lying without work.
These independent bodies were formed to curb the ever-rising pollution in the state. But it failed to implement its brief as there are no officials or office through which such actions could be taken.
This came to the light on Thursday, when the environment department called all the 17 district environment officials and officials of 44 municipal bodies at Paribesh Bhawan to take stock of the actions they have taken to maintain the environmental balance and the work done on the Ganga Action Plan.
The Coastal Zone Regulatory Authority (CZRA) was formed in the year 1991 for banning pollution caused by hotels, restaurants, municipal bodies and to check pollution in the coastal areas of Bengal including Sagar Island and Digha.
But all that has remained on paper. The environment department has neither recruited officials nor staff for the CZRA. And there is no office premise for this body.
The Bio Diversity Board (BDB) was constituted in 2003 for checking the environmental imbalances especially in areas like parks and public places.
And the East Kolkata wetland Authority (EKWA) was founded in the year 2006 for preserving the city wetlands as well as initiating punititive actions against illegal filling up of ponds and water bodies. But both these bodies are defunct.
As a result, an environment department official observed that even the parent body—West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB)—under whose umbrella all these boards were constituted has failed to put 11 notifications into action.
All these notifications were issued by the department for checking illegal filling of wetlands and maintaining the city's green.
Though the present environment minister, Shailen Sarkar, was not available for his comment on this issue, the principal secretary, of this department, KL Meena claimed: "All these three authorities are functioning from my office at Writers' Building. The minister is the chairman of all these bodies and I am the functioning authority. Everything is absolutely all right."
Meanwhile, Digha remains one of the most ill managed beaches of the country with no check on pollution making bodies like hotels, resorts and healthcare centres.