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Powers And Functions Of Central And State Boards For Prevention And Control Of Water Pollution

In this article we cover the constitution of central and state boards and also the powers and functions of both the boards under The Water (Prevention And Control Of Pollution) Act, 1974.

Constitution Of Central Board

According to Section-3, the Central Board shall consist of the following members:
  1. A full time Chairman (to be nominated by the Central Government) having knowledge or practical experience in matters related to environmental pro­tection or having knowledge and experience in administration of institutions dealing with aforesaid matters.
  2. Not more than five officials nominated by the Central Government.
  3. Not more than five persons nominated by the Central Government from amongst the members of State Boards.
  4. Not more than three non-officials nominated by the government to represent interests of agriculture, fishery, agriculture-trade etc.
  5. Two persons nominated by the government to represent the companies or corporations owned by the Central Government.
  6. One full time Member-Secretary (to be appointed by the Central Govt.) having knowledge and experience of scientific engineering or management as­pects of pollution control.

Constitution Of State Boards

Under Section-4, of the State Pollution Control Board may be constituted having the same constitution as the Central Board.

Constitution Of Committees
According to Section-9, a board may constitute as many committees as necessary. The members of a committee shall be paid such fees and allowances for attending to any other work of the Board.

Constitution Of Joint Boards

According to Section-13 of the Act, under agreement between two or more contiguous States, Joint Boards may be constituted for those states, by the Central or State Governments.

Terms And Service Conditions Of The Members Of The Board

  1. Terms and service conditions of the Member Secretary and Chairman shall be as prescribed by the Government.
  2. Rest of the members shall hold office for a term of three years.
  3. A member shall be eligible for renomination.
  4. Central or State Government may remove a member of the Central or State Board at any time by giving him reasonable notice and opportunity.
  5. The Chairman may resign by addressing his resignation to the government and a member may resign by addressing his resignation to the Chairman.
  6. In the case of insolvency, unsound mind, conviction for the offence under this Act, conviction for the offence involving moral turpitude, inability to attend three consecutive meetings, abusing position as member of the Board, Partnership with anybody dealing with sewage or trade effluent etc., are some conditions for disqualification of the member. Seat of the disqualified member shall fall vacant and a person nominated to fill such a vacancy shall hold office for the remaining term.

Meeting Of The Boards

According to Section-8, at least one meeting must be held in every three months.

Functions Of The Central Board
According to Section-16, the following are the functions of the Central Board:
  1. To promote cleanliness of streams and wells in different areas of the state.
  2. To advise the Central Govt, on matters concerning the prevention and con­trol of water pollution.
  3. To co-ordinate the actions of the State Board and resolve disputes among them.
  4. To provide technical assistance and guidance to the State Boards to carry out research in prevention and control of water pollution problems.
  5. To organize training of persons engaged in pollution control.
  6. To organise comprehensive programme for pollution control through mass media.
  7. To lay down standards for streams or wells.
  8. To prepare manuals, codes or guides for treatment and disposal of sewage and trade effluents.
  9. To establish or recognise laboratories for analysis of water samples from any stream, well or trade effluents.

Functions Of The State Board

According to Section-17, the following are the functions of the State Board:
  1. Planning a comprehensive programme for prevention, control and abate­ment of pollution of streams and wells.
  2. Advising the State Government regarding water pollution control or loca­tion of industries.
  3. Conducting and encouraging investigations and research relating to differ­ent aspects of water pollution.
  4. To collaborate with the Central Board for training personnel for handling water pollution programmes and organising related mass education pro­grammes.
  5. Inspecting trade effluents and waste water treatment plants.
  6. Prescribing effluent standards for the sewage and trade effluents.
  7. Evolving economical and reliable methods of disposal, treatment and reuse of waste water (in agriculture).
  8. Laying down the standards of treatment of sewage and trade effluents to be discharged into any stream.
  9. Making, varying or revoking any order for preservation or control of dis­charge of waste into streams and wells or construction of systems for dis­posal of effluents.
  10. Establishing or recognising laboratories for analysis of samples.
  11. Performing such functions as may be entrusted by Central Board or State governments.

According to Section-18, the Central Board shall be bound by directions given by the Central Govt, whereas the State Board shall be bound by directions given by the Central Board or the State Government.

In case a grave emergency arises as a result of non-compliance of the State Govt, as regards directions given by the Central Board, then the Central Govt, may recover the expenses incurred by it from the persons concerned, as arrears of land revenue.

Powers Of The State Government

According to Section-19, the following are the powers of state government:
  1. Power to obtain information
    According to Section-20, the State Board may make surveys, take measurements or obtain information for purpose of performing functions under this Act. Failure to comply with any directions un­der the Section is a punishable offence under subsection (1) of Section-41.
  2. Power to take samples
    Under Section-21(1) A, the State Government has the power to take samples of water of any stream or well or any effluent being discharged into such a stream or well, for analysis. Under Section-22(4), the State Board further has the power to obtain a report of the result of the analysis by a recognised laboratory.
  3. Power of entry and inspection
    According to Section-23, the State Board is empowered by the State Govt., with the right to enter any place for the pur­pose of performing any of the functions entrusted to it.
  4. Power of Prohibition on Disposal of Polluting Matter into a Stream or Well

Under Section-24:

  1. No person shall knowingly allow entry of any poisonous, noxious or polluting matter directly or indirectly into any stream, well or sewer or on land.
  2. No person shall knowingly allow entry of any matter into any stream, which may impede the proper flow of water resulting in substantial aggravation of pollution.
  3. No person shall establish any industry, operation or process or any treat­ment disposal system, which is likely to discharge any sewage or effluent into stream or well or on land.
  4. No person shall use any new outlet for discharge of sewage.
  5. No person shall begin to make any new discharge of sewage.

Consent of The State Board

  1. Board must decide an application for consent within four months failing which consent will be deemed to have been given.
  2. Persons already discharging any sewage or effluent into any stream or well or on land will have to seek the consent of the State Board.
  3. A person may appeal against the order of the State Board within 30 days, to an appellate authority established by the State Government. The State Govt, can alter the decision of the State Board, if necessary.
  4. While giving consent, if any work is required to be executed and the applicant fails to do so, the Board may itself execute it and recover the expenses along with interest.
  5. The State Board must be informed in case due to an accident in any indus­try or treatment or disposal system, any polluting matter is likely to be discharged into any stream, well or on land which in turn may pollute wa­ter. The Board may take remedial measures wherever necessary.
  6. The Board may approach a court for restraining a person who is likely to cause pollution by disposal discharge of polluting matter into a stream, well or on land.
The person concerned may be directed by the court to remove the polluting matter and in case of non-compliance, the court may authorise the board to do the needful and the expenses incurred by the Board may be recovered from the person concerned.

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