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West Bengal Pollution Control Board

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Norms set for the discharge of functions

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(Administration has been requested to provide relevant/current/modified information to incorporate the same on 29.10.2014 and on 04.05.2015)

The Board has adopted several innovative approaches to achieve quick and effective results for protecting and preserving the environment of the State, which include:
  • Framing clear environmental policy and guidelines;
  • Priority setting for immediate action;
  • Decentralisation of activities;
  • Regular monitoring of environmental quality of the state;
  • Training, education and awareness;
  • Promotional activities through economic incentives to encourage better environmental practices;
  • Organisational support building;
  • Working in partnerships;
  • Addressing dispute resolution mechanisms;
  • Complaint handling mechanisms; and
  • E-governance.

 

Some of the approaches set and followed by the Board for discharge of its functions is given below.

 

a) Consent Administration

 

Under the provisions of the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and the Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, any industry, operation or process or an extension and addition thereto, which is likely to discharge sewerage or trade effluent into the environment or likely to emit any air pollution into the atmosphere will have to obtain consent of the State Pollution Control Board. There are different types of consent issued under the provisions of Water (P &CP) Act 1974 and Air (P&CP) Act, 1981.

 

  • Consent to Establish: All the industries and activities needing consent must obtain consent to establish before actual commencement of the works for establishing the industry/activity.
  • Consent to Operate: This consent needs to be taken before actual commencement of production. This consent is valid for certain duration.
  • Renewal of Consent to Operate: The consent to operate is renewed after certain period.
Depending upon the pollution potential of different industries, the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) has classified the industrial units into three different categories: 'Red', 'Orange' and 'Green'. The Red category units have maximum pollution potential, the Orange category units have moderate pollution potential and the Green units have the least pollution potential. Further, considering the degree of pollution among the Red units, these are classified into ‘Special Red’ and ‘Ordinary Red’ categories. Also a few units under the Green category with no pollution potential are classified as ‘Exempted’ category units. Grossly polluted industries were identified for regulatory compliance on an immediate basis. These are under strict monitoring schedule of the Board.

 

The WBPCB ensures that compliance to environmental standards is attained through negotiated agreements and technical guidance. Under the siting policy of the Board, the red industries are not permitted in Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA) areas, and orange industries are not permitted in Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) and Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC) areas, except the industrial estates of KMC and HMC. This policy does not permit a few water-intensive and highly polluting industrial units having high water consumption within 10-km radius of the Calcutta Leather Complex at Bantala.



b) Recommendation committees

 

The technical committee, the Consent Committees and the Task Force Committees are recommending bodies, and are not empowered to take final decision of any kind. The technical committee at the Board’s headoffice provide technical inputs for 32 industries of the special red category requiring clearance from the Government of India, review EIA/EMP reports and examine matters related to public hearing. Consent committees (‘Consent for Establishment’ (CFE) and ‘Consent for Operation’ (CFO) separately) looks after matters related to consent administration for the headoffice, circle offices and other regional offices of the Board. In addition, the ‘Task Force Committee’ looks into details necessitating directions including closure/reopening of industries, imposition of bank guarantee, imposition of pollution cost as well as to recommend on the issue of such directions. The working of these Committees involve stakeholder participation including views from industries, non-governmental organisations, etc

 

  • Technical Committee at headoffice: To provide technical inputs for 32 industries of the special red category requiring clearance from the Government of India, to review EIA/EMP reports and to examine matters related to public hearing.
  • CFE (Consent For Establishment) Committee at headoffice: To consider recommendations of Technical Committee , to consider proposals for CFE and take decisions
  • CFO (Consent For Operation) Committee at headoffice: To examine CFO applications and take decisions
  • Task Force Committee at headoffice: To look into details necessitating directions including closure/reopening of industries, imposition of bank guarantee, imposition of pollution cost as well as to recommend on the issue of such directions.
  • Consent (CFE/CFO) Committee at circle office: To examine CFE/CFO proposals of units/industries at circle office
  • Consent (CFE/CFO) Committee at regional offices: To examine CFE/CFO proposals of units/industries at regional offices

 

WBPCB Offices Consent Committees 32 categories of industries Special Red Ordinary Red Orange Green
Head Office CFE & CFO All capital investments above Rs.5 crores* All with capital investments above Rs.5 crores (other than 32 categories) . . .
Circle Office CFE & CFO All with investments below Rs.5 crores but above Rs.1.67 crores** All (other than 32 categories) with investments below Rs.5 crores but above Rs.1.67 crores All above Rs.5 crores . .
Regional Office CFE & CFO All less than Rs.1.67 crores All (other than 32 categories) with investments less than Rs.1.67 crores All below Rs.5 crores other than dealt with by DIC CFE - All other than cases dealt with by DIC and DLLRO CFO - All including DIC cases and excluding DLLRO cases All except these dealt with by DIC



c) The WBPCB Public Grievance System

 

Public hearing is a transparent method adopted by the WBPCB for resolving the public problems related to environmental issues. The WBPCB hearing authority is composed of a retired Judicial Magistrate and other legal and technical officers of the Board. After careful consideration of the representations from both the complainant and the aggrieved, necessary directions are issued. If the directions are complied with within a time schedule, the case is disposed off. Otherwise, legal actions are taken against the errant unit during subsequent hearings. In the ultimate case, closure order is issued until the unit adopts an adequate precautionary arrangement for control of pollution. In case the complaint is found to be beyond the legal jurisdiction of the Board, necessary suggestion letter or letter of direction are immediately sent to the concerned authorities. This process is diagrammatically represented below.

 

Following the general practice, the public lodges pollution-related complaints by directly approaching the office of the Board. Recently, the process of lodging a complaint at the WBPCB was made simple. One can now lodge a complaint by just clicking www.emis.wbpcb.gov.in and submitting the necessary information related to the complaint. Almost immediately, the complaints are acknowledged, inquired, inspected and subsequently redressed during a hearing in presence of both the parties involved. The Board punishes the defaulters with bank guarantees as well as with notices of disconnection of electricity and closure.



d) Cess Assessment Policy

 

In exercise of the power conferred by the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977, the Department of Environment, Government of West Bengal issued a notification, where the Governor specified the West Bengal Pollution Control Board as the authority to collect the cess. The cess would be collected from the person or the local authority liable to pay the same under the said Act and would remit the amount so collected to the consolidated Fund of the Govrnment of India in such manner and within such time as may be prescribed.