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400 files pile up at KSPCB without approval; industrialists say delay is hurting them

A crucial meeting at the KSPCB to clear files on large industries under the red category on Wednesday was reportedly postponed due to uncertainty over an interim order of the Karnataka High Court.
Last Updated : 26 October 2023, 20:33 IST
Last Updated : 26 October 2023, 20:33 IST

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Bengaluru: Nearly 400 files remain unattended at the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) due to pending approvals, creating significant challenges for both the real estate sector and various industries.

A crucial meeting at the KSPCB to clear files on large industries under the red category on Wednesday was reportedly postponed due to uncertainty over an interim order of the Karnataka High Court.

On September 8, the high court issued a conditional interim order allowing Shanth A Thimmaiah to oversee day-to-day administrative activities as the KSPCB chairman, directing him not to make policy decisions until further directives.

Thimmaiah, who contested the notification that limited his tenure, informed DH that the matter is scheduled for a hearing on November 6. “It is a matter of just 10 days,” he said.

Thimmaiah said that no consent meetings was held because he was unsure if they fell within the purview of the day-to-day activities mentioned by the court.

The red category contains more than 87 types of industries, and approvals for files related to these sectors require the consent of the Enforcement Committee, chaired by the KSPCB chairman and consisting nearly 15 members.

“Barring these industries, all other files are being cleared, both at the regional and zonal offices. The requests related to orange and green categories of industries do not come to the head office for approval,” Thimmaiah told DH.

'Delays hurt industries'

The persistent delays in clearing files, especially those related to the real estate sector, have been hurting the industries, several industrialists and developers told DH.

“We had submitted the application more than three months ago. Before us, at least 200 files were pending for clearance,” a builder said.

Apart from industries, construction projects spanning over 50,000 square feet, including apartments, require KSPCB's consent before builders start the spadework.

“The real estate sector is badly affected due to the delays,” Kishore Jain, chairman of CREDAI, Bengaluru told DH. “Time's a ticking bomb and more valuable than money. Any delay will hurt us. Post-elections, there were no approvals on a consistent basis.”

Some members of the Federation of Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) reportedly met Forest Minister Eshwar Khandre to resolve the issues hurting the industry.

A senior KSPCB official clarified that the high court's order curtails the chairman's powers, but not those of the board itself.

“The KSPCB was constituted as per the Water Act and the chairman's powers were delegated by the 17 members of the board. Until the court completes the hearing, the KSPCB can call a board meeting and delegate the powers to the member secretary. By doing this, the government can ensure the industries are not hurt,” he said.

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Published 26 October 2023, 20:33 IST

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