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Amid Pollution Crisis, Haryana State Pollution Control Board Works with 38% of Staff

A response by the Board says that 303 of the 481 sanctioned posts are lying vacant.
Amid Pollution Crisis, Haryana State Pollution Control Board Works with 38% of Staff

Image Courtesy: PTI

The Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) is reported to have a staggering vacancy of 62% of the posts. Against the sanctioned strength of 481, the Board is working with only 178 employees, reported The Tribune.

The vacancy is especially striking at a time when the air quality in the state as well as the adjoining national capital remains abysmal. Earlier this month, the National Human Rights Commission had intervened following the ‘severe plus’ level of pollution in the NCT of Delhi. It had called upon the chief secretaries of Haryana, Punjab, UP, and Delhi to discuss the grave issue of air pollution.

The Tribune report said on Friday that Varun Gulati, an environment activist, sought information about the number of employees of the Board on October 20. His enquiry pertained to the sanctioned and vacant posts, the number of employees on deputation, additional charges to officials and the long-stayed employees of the HSPCB.

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The reply by the HSPCB said that out of the 481 sanctioned posts, 443 are regular, 33 are outsourced and three are diminishing. However, 303 or 62% of these are lying vacant. According to The Tribune report, it further said that eight officials have a long stay at the same station, five are on deputation while nine have an additional charge in the board. Among the vacancies are two posts of chief environment engineers, two posts of chief scientific officers, nine of senior scientists, 15 of environmental engineers, 10 of scientist ‘C’, 25 of scientist ‘B’, 58 of assistant environment engineers, 24 of junior environmental engineers, 36 of assistant, and 35 of clerks.

The activist, speaking to The Tribune, argued that the additional charge given to the nine officials in the HSPCB is in violation of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) orders. “National Green Tribunal (NGT) in its order dated February 5, 2021, in a case of Aryavrat foundation v/s Ms Vapi Green Enviro Limited and others, said the work of regulators should be full-time for the incumbents appointed and it applies to all key positions, including the chairman, member secretary and regional officers, engineers and scientists of the board. Such incumbents may not be given any other additional charge,” Gulati was quoted as saying in the report.

HSPCB chairman P Raghavendra Rao said while talking to the daily: “The process to fill the vacant posts is on, but it will take time. Requisitions have been sent to the Haryana Public Service Commission (HPSC) to fill the key posts and to the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) for other positions. Besides, requisitions have also been sent to various depts to send their eligible officials on deputation.”

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