CMO approval sought for disciplinary & criminal action against a HP pollution board official
Shimla, June 6
The Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu government adopting zero tolerance policy towards corruption, is currently delibrating on a file for giving approval wanted by Himachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board against its Chief Environment Engineer Praveen Gupta for disciplinary action and criminal conduct.
A Goverment information supplied to media by a RTI activist, stated that the Member Secretary of HPSPCB Aprova Devgun had forwarded a file to CMO on February 21, 2023. However chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu did not nod the approval for taking action as demanded against Gupta for alleged illegalities which deserve disciplinary and criminal action.

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The RTI states that at HPSPCB, Praveen Gupta is an officer of the rank of Chief Environmental Engineer and has been posted as Additional Director (Environment) by the Government of Himachal Pradesh on secondment basis on 18.07.2019. PC Gupta then St.EE and now Chief Environmental Engineer, Addl Director ( EST ) has also been assigned additional charge of Regional Officer Baddi with the directions and approval of the then Chief Minister of HP.
The pollution board sought approval from CMO stating that NGT has ordered the State Government to take action against Praveen Chander Gupta, While show cause was issued by the PCB in 2017, the matter remains incompletely dealt.
Also, that on receipt of a complaint, report was sought from Praveen Chander Gupta on numerous occasions but has failed to submit a report despite several reminders, which amounts to insubordination, gross indiscipline and also an act of grave misconduct.
The information further stated that in order to get independent Field Reports about compliance of industrial units in respect of environmental norms across the State,  Chairman HPSPCB constitued a Flying Squad on February 9, 2023.
During the inspection conducted by the flying squad, it came to the notice that in case of M/s Nexkem Biotech it has been found that the Company is operating without Consent to Operate and in the case of M/s Mahalakshmi Spintex it has been found that the unit has undertaken expansion without consent of the Board, along with other significant operational non-compliances as per norms.
Both these cases are of Industrial area Baddi which are directly under the control of  Praveen Chander Gupta. This is also a gross negligence or connivance on part of Praveen Chander Gupta for allowing such illegalities, which warrants Disciplinary Action and criminal action.
The charge of Regional Officer Baddi (an area with the highest number of Industrial units in the State) is highly difficult to be handled as an additional charge by an officer traveling between Shimla and Baddi due to his secondment to the Envoirnment Science and Technology Directorate as Additional Director.
The regulatory functions of the Board are not being implemented completely and are suffering greatly.
Therefore the board  proposed that the Additional Charge of the post of Regional Officer, Baddi entrusted to Praveen Chander Gupta, was recommended to be ordered to be withdrawn from him.
In the same government document the board member secretary also sought approval to post Atul Parmar, Environmental Engineer presently posted at Regional Office, HPSPCB, Bilaspur be posted as Regional Officer, Baddi.
The matter is pending for approval with the Chief minister since last four months. The board recommend that it would not be appropriate to let PC Gupta to continue to hold the sensitive additional charge on the post of Regional Officer, at Baddi hence, the proposal of Member Secretary might be approved .

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