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wbpcb

West Bengal Pollution Control Board

Online Single Window Clearence (OSWiCS for Large Mfg. Industry)

Details in respect of the information, available to or held by the Board, reduced in an electronic form

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

The statutory activities of the Board require continuous interaction with all the stake-holders like common people, different government agencies, NGOs, industrial business houses etc. As such, hard scientific, legal and managerial capacity, along with huge and diverse information and data processing skills is required to facilitate quick decision-making. The computerization of the whole system and electronic transfer of data/ information along with its on-line processing was thought to be the solution for better performance of the Board and its transparent governance.

 

With the above objective in mind, the Board started its computerization way back in 1997-98 with the introduction of a five-user Local Area Network (LAN) based payroll and accounting application in the accounts section of the Board. By 2000, the Board had basic computerization with more than fifty standalone computers distributed over its different Regional offices.

 

The website (http://www.wbpcb.gov.in) was launched way back in 2000, on the occasion of World Environment Day, by Shri Jyoti Basu, the then Chief Minister of West Bengal. The site provides a great deal of information for the general public, including details of statutory obligations for entrepreneurs, basic 'how tos' of environmental clearances ('Consent to Establish' and 'Consent to Operate'), and environmental status of the state.



IT Initiatives during the year 2001-2002

 

Networking of the Board

 

The Board is fast moving to fulfill its commitment towards complete e-governance. All the offices of the Board are now electronically connected. By 2002, the Board had networked the whole of its Head Office and Central Laboratory complex at Paribesh Bhawan, Salt Lake. One hundred and fifty nodes distributed over five floors were connected using giga-speed structured cabling solution and nine quality of service enabled switches. This has smoothened the process of intra-office mailing and documents transfer and also facilitated Internet access for the Board's personnel.

 

Two Regional offices of the Board, at Kankinara and Durgapur, were networked using the same giga-speed structured cabling solution during early 2003. One hundred and twenty nodes in these offices were connected using six quality of service enabled switches. The Board established its dial up remote access server at Head Office to provide dial up connectivity to Regional offices to the central network by end 2002. Presently, all the Board's office's, including the regional offices, are electronically connected.

 

In order to provide web based service to the public the Board has procured its own dedicated Internet connectivity through 64 Kbps leased line and its own server for hosting of services. Servers were procured and installed to host dns, web and mail gateway. Currently, every employee of the Board has an individual network account through which he/she can use a network resource.

 

The website of the Board, hosted through the Board's own server at Head office, offers several web based services for the general public. People have access to data on daily air quality monitoring. It also makes it possible for entrepreneurs, the general public, the media and academicians to get information on environmental issues. An analysis of the site access record shows that the site is frequented round the clock, pointing to a high level of public need and usage.

 

WBPCB connected to WBSWAN

 

West Bengal State Wide Area Network (WBSWAN), the multi service wide area network of the Government of West Bengal, implemented through optical fibre backbone, became operational with its basic set up to district head quarters during 2001-2002. The network will connect the remotest Gram Panchyats of the state with the State Headquarters. The Board has been connected to this high-speed multi-service wide area network since 2001. Through WBSWAN the core management of the Board can extend its availability to any member of the public. Regional offices of the Board, too, will be able to communicate with the world through this network, and so ensure improved communications, within departments as well as with the general public and various stakeholders. With EMIS and WBSWAN in place up to the block level, the concept of e-Governance will become a reality in West Bengal.

 

IT Initiatives during the year 2002-2003

 

Development of EMIS - Implementation of true e-governance

 

Present computer use involves operation of a few self developed program packages on stand-alone computers that register mainly the file movement, analysis reports of pollutants, water cess bills etc.

 

The Board's plans for 2003 centers around the development of a web-based interactive service - the "Environment Management Information System" EMIS, which will enable entrepreneurs to put their applications through the internet and also monitor the status of such applications. This will ensure transparency to the process. In this system the entire processing and report creation would be computerized and the relevant databases would be automatically updated. The proposed system includes development of a database and applications to cater to the needs of the stakeholders and the Board's activities. At its crux lies smooth electronic clearances of applications under the jurisdiction of environmental laws. The EMIS is expected to be completed within 2003. The beneficiaries of this unique application software will be:

 

Industry
  • On-line availability of application forms for environmental clearances
  • Information on the status of processing of the application(s) and the decision of the Board
The Public
  • On-line lodging of environmental complaints and information on status of processing of the complaint
  • Information on environmental status of sensitive areas, streams and lakes, air quality
  • Administrative information and orders in relation to environmental governance.
Academicians
  • Scientific data and information collected and created by the Board.
  • Reports on project work in relation to environment and health.
This software will also decrease processing time for environmental clearances and increase the Board's operational transparency.

 

IT Initiatives of the WBPCB during the year 2003-2004

 

With the primary infrastructure in place, the focus of the Board changed towards deployment of network based applications across the Board and training of the users to optimally use network services. The following services were launched in a phased manner:

 

Daily Ambient Air quality Reporting

 

The Board monitors the quality of air we breathe in daily. The data collected is important to the public in general. In pre-network days, it was impossible to deliver this data to the public as and when it gets generated from the sources. The Board launched a web-based service to get rid of this bottleneck. The daily ambient air quality reporting service enables the availability of Kolkata's air quality data from the Board's monitoring stations daily to the public almost immediately after its analysis.

 

On-line Application Forms

 

Environmental Clearance is one area where people interact with the Board on a daily basis. There are several application forms through which one applies to the Board for environmental clearance. Previously, some of these forms were priced and were available through designated branches of banks. In a major decision to extend e-governance, the Board has made available its application forms in its website (http://www.wbpcb.gov.in) for free download by the public.

 

Increased web presence

 

A series of new information webpages like Board's news release, event-based reporting, publication of reports of different studies conducted by the Board, information regarding important judicial orders regulatory circulars etc. were made available to the public through the web site. The Board adopted a system to keep this information flow smooth and updated with minimum delay, e.g., a search engine was introduced at the Board's website to make it more user-friendly.

 

Mailing lists and anti spam efforts

 

Building of e-culture within the Board topped its priority list. More than one hundred users who are primarily employees of the Board presently have e-mailing facilities through Board's own e-mail service gateway. Several mailing lists have been provided amongst these users to enable group interactions/discussions through e-mails. Moving ahead, the Board created a NGO mailing list where all registered NGOs with the Board were enlisted. A single mail to the list goes to all the NGOs at once.

 

The year 2003-2004 also observed multi-fold increase in email spam messages through unprotected mail gateways. In order to enable a recipient to discriminate between legitimate Board mails and a fake ones, the Board published its Sender Policy Framework (SPF) record through its own domain server.

 

Introduction of Koha - An Integrated Library Management System

 

Library is one of the most important resources for organisations like the WBPCB. The Board has its library at its Headquarters, Paribesh Bhawan. Koha - the first Open Source Integrated Library System (ILS) was introduced at the WBPCB library to make its functioning online. Users of the library can now search the catalogue from his/her desktop through Koha's Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) interface (this can be viewed at http://library.wbpcb.gov.in) . They can optionally request for reservation of books and journals against their names. In future, Koha can be configured to interact with other libraries using inter library information exchange protocol z.39 and its variants over Internet to create a virtual catalogue space.

 

Linux goes to Desktops

 

The Board had its experience to use open source tools for all its work at server applications. All of the Board's services are run using open source software or free software. The penetration of such software was limited at the desktop front. In 2003-2004, the Board introduced over 40 Linux desktop systems across its 10 offices. Apart from being cost-effective, the system was found to be acceptable to a large section of users who were earlier using proprietary software for their day to day work.

 

IT Initiatives of the WBPCB during the year 2004-2005

 

E-Governance

 

The statutory activities of the Board include issuance of environmental clearances, evaluation of environmental reports, estimation of pollution load from different sources, control of emission from point and non-point sources etc. These activities of the Board require continuous interaction with all the stake-holders like common people, different government agencies, NGOs, industrial business houses etc. As such, hard scientific, legal and managerial capacity, along with huge and diverse information and data processing skills is required to facilitate quick decision-making. The computerization of the whole system and electronic transfer of data/ information along with its on-line processing was thought to be the solution for better performance of the Board and its transparent governance.

 

Launching of EMIS - Implementation of true e-governance

 

Honourable Chief Minister of West Bengal Shri Buddhadeb Bhattacharyya launched the Board's, first ever on line environmental clearance site for the Green category of Industry on 3rd October 2004 in presence of Honourable Minister of Environment and Information Technology Shri Manabendra Mukhopadhyay. With this launch the Board entered into an era of second generation e-governance.

 

The "Environment Management Information System" EMIS is a web based application which presents the whole gamut of Boards activity, electronically, before the citizen. It has enabled entrepreneurs to put their environmental clearance applications through the Internet and also monitor the status of such applications. This will ensure transparency to the process. The system offers entire regulatory processing and reports creation on line with a strong databases getting automatically updated at the backend with each user action. At its crux lies smooth electronic clearances of applications under the jurisdiction of environmental laws.

 

The success of an e-governance application depends heavily on, among others, its sustainability model and replicability. It has to depend on hostile external network conditions where citizen resides. The design of EMIS has been made to take care of all these issues. The software components used in this application were taken from the Free/Open source Software pool developed by the international community to avoid proprietary software procurement and upgrade cost. The application does not have any intellectual property and vendor lock in, which ensures its easy replicability.

 

The beneficiaries of this unique application software will be:

 

Industry
  • On-line guidance and filling up of application forms for environmental clearances
  • nformation on the status of processing of the application(s) and the decision of the Board
The Public
  • On-line lodging of environmental complaints and information on status of processing of the complaint
  • Information on environmental status of sensitive areas, streams and lakes, air quality
  • Administrative information and orders in relation to environmental governance.
Academicians
  • Scientific data and information collected and created by the Board.
  • Reports on project work in relation to environment and health.
This software will also decrease processing time for environmental clearances and increase the Board's operational transparency.

 

The beneficiaries matrix is stated here:

 

How many people will benefit from the program? All stakeholders whose activity falls under the environmental acts.
  • More than 19,000 industrial units
  • 600 odd complainants per month
  • All public representatives
  • All staff members of the Board
  • How and where it will operate? For how long? The whole system is operating in the server computers at Paribesh Bhawan. Regional offices of the Board will access the system through Internet for which the networking already exists at eleven offices of the Board.
    Who will staff it ? The EMIS software, has been developed by the Board through M/s CMC Ltd. After full implementation it would be run and maintained by in-house staffs of the Board.

     

    ADB Funded Project to Monitor and Perform backlog Data Population in EMIS

     

    Any large database driven application takes its own time to grow to a position from where meaningful reports can be made. Realising the need of getting immediate decision support from the existing data trapped into environmental clearance applications, the Board planned to populate old data into EMIS. The Asian Development Bank through its Technical Assistance project on "Strengthening Environmental Management at State Level" extended its help to the Board for population of the backlog data. The project was launched by Shri Manabendra Mukhopadhyay, hon'ble minister of Environment and IT on 1st October 2004 in presence of the representatives from Govt. of India, Asian Development Bank, Govt. of West Bengal and WBPCB. M/s Intercontinental Consultants and Technocrats Pvt. Ltd has started the work of EMIS population and monitoring on behalf of WBPCB and ADB.

     

    Local Area Networking of more Regional Offices

     

    By the end of March 2004, the Board was having local area networks in three sites covering six of its offices namely, Head Office, Central Laboratory, Office of SEE(Kankinara), Salt Lake RO, Kankinara RO and Durgapur RO. During 2004-05, five more offices of the Board were networked. Office of SEE (Camac), Camac St RO, Howrah RO, Alipore RO and Dankuni RO were brought under the hood of local area networking during this period. The employees and officers were trained to work in networked environment to optimize usage of computing resources including judicious use of printers.

     

    Wide Area Network through High Speed Internet at Regional Offices

     

    Regional offices of the Board were connected to the Head Office through dial-up Remote Access Server and dial-up Internet connections till March 2004. Since high speed inter-office connectivity is the key implementation factor for e-governance, the Board analysed available options for wide area networking of its offices. Considering several issues, the Board decided to use the DIAS (Direct Internet Access System) service offered by the Govt. ISP BSNL for connecting the regional offices with the Head Office at Paribesh Bhawan. The decision of not entering into dedicated point to point leased lines were taken based on the sustainability factors of successful e-governance implementation. Nine regional offices, namely, Asansol Sub RO, Durgapur RO, Alipore RO, Howrah RO, Camac St RO, Office of SEE(Camac), Kankinara RO, Office of SEE(Kankinara) and Hooghly RO are presently connected to the Head office through the use of this 128 Kbps high speed Internet. Exchanges of documents, mails, mailing list notices has now