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Rajasthan State Pollution Board Failed To Initiate Effective Programme, Says CAG Report

Many prominent Rajasthan cities like Kota, Jaipur and Jodhpur feature on WHO’s list of most polluted cities in the world

  • The report states that the RSPCB did not follow up on instructions issued
  • The state pollution control board had no data on sources of pollution
  • Most CPCB recommended actions have not been implemented in the state

New Delhi: Rajasthan state pollution control board (RSPCB) has failed to initiate any effective programme to control and abate air pollution in the desert state, a CAG report said. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) audit has observed that the board, which is responsible for prevention, control and abatement of pollution, merely forwarded the instructions issued by the central pollution control board to the executive departments but did not follow up on them.

“There was a lack of coordination between the RSPCB and other relevant departments which led to non-identification of sources of air pollution along with their quantification through source apportionment studies,” the CAG report on the last fiscal said.

The report, which was tabled in the Assembly, pointed out that all the units of Kota super thermal power station (KSTPS) and Chhabra thermal power plant (CTPP) were operating without obtaining consent to operate/renewal of consent to operate, which was the violation of the provisions of the Air Act.

The performance audit found that, as of March 2017, only 32 ambient air quality monitoring stations and two continuous ambient air quality monitoring stations were operating in six districts while 27 districts having 47.03 million population and 74.50 lakh vehicles were still out of the purview of air quality monitoring.

It was also seen that the RSPCB and Environment Department did not have meaningful data of the sources of pollution in rural areas in absence of which planning to mitigate pollution could not be undertaken.

Periodic survey to identify the sources of air pollution and its adverse impact on eco-system as well as human health was neither done by the RSPCB nor were any action plan prepared with clear timeline to reduce the air pollution. Lack of proper monitoring of air pollutants was found in the CAG audit which indicated that the purpose of procuring costly equipment was defeated.

Source apportionment studies were not carried out in non-attainment cities to identify and quantify the source of pollution. In the absence of which, the RSPCB was not in a position to prepare comprehensive programmes for prevention, control or abatement of air pollution, the report stated.

In case of National Capital Region (NCR) area or non-attainment cities of the state, no action plans were submitted by the concerned department and as a result of which, directions issued by the CPCB could not be monitored by the RSPCB and most of the actions prescribed by the CPCB could not be initiated.

No action plan by the Transport Department to phase out 15-year-old vehicles, no survey by the department to identify places with heavy traffic and no pollution load assessment, poor manpower management in the RSPCB were among other findings of the audit.

As per the World Health Organisation’s report on Ambient Air Pollution -2016, India has the highest number of polluted cities in the world. Of the 100 most polluted cities in the world, India has 33, while 22 cities are among the top 50 most polluted cities are in India.

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