Government Reconstitutes Top Court-Powered Pollution Control Panel

New Delhi: 

The Centre has reconstituted Supreme Court-empowered Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority or the EPCA, which is tasked with taking various measures to tackle air pollution in the National Capital Region. The tenure of the last EPCA expired on October 3.

“The Central government hereby re-constitutes the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority,” an order issued by the Environment Ministry on October 3 said.

The ministry said that while reconstituting the EPCA, it tried to broad-base the organisation and therefore brought in more members.

Former secretary Bhure Lal continues to be the chairman, while theCentre for Science and Environment (CSE) DG Sunita Narain is one of the members.

The other members of the 20-member re-constituted authorityinclude Ajay Mathur, who is the Director General of The Energy Research Institute (TERI), Arunabha Ghosh, the Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Energy Environment and Water, Navroz K. Dubash, the Senior Fellow for the Centre for Policy Research.

Others include Vishnu Mathur, Director General, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers; Arvind Kumar, former professor of surgery, AIIMS, in New Delhi and presently Chairman Centre for Chest Surgery, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital; Krishna Dhawan, Chief Executive Officer, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, New Delhi among others.

The Centre had removed a JNU professor, accused of sexual harassment, from the EPCA back in July. The Environment Ministry, inan order issued on July 4, announced the removal of Atul Kumar Johri, a professor at the School of Life Sciences at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). Johri was arrested in March for allegedly sexually harassing several students.

Sources in the Ministry said they had reports that many of the members were not attending the meetings of the panel regularly.

The EPCA was constituted with the objective of protecting and improving the quality of the environment and preventing and controlling the environmental pollution in the National Capital Region. The EPCA is also mandated to enforce Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in the city as per the pollution levels.

In November, the EPCA had enforced several measures, including closure of the Badarpur thermal power plant, ban on brick kilns, hot mix plants and stone crushers, and construction activities.

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