The Rajya Sabha has passed the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Amendment Bill, 2024. The Bill seeks to amend the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
The Act establishes the central and state pollution control boards to prevent and control water pollution. The Bill decriminalizes several violations and imposes penalties. It will initially apply to Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, and the Union Territories.
Under the act, the chairman of a State Pollution Control Board is nominated by the state government. According to the provision of the bill, the central government will prescribe the manner of nomination and the terms and conditions of service of the chairman. The Bill imposes a penalty between ten thousand rupees to 15 lakh rupees for violation of provisions related to discharge of polluting matter in water bodies.
Replying to the discussion Bill, Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Bhupender Yadav said, the government is committed towards water conservation. He said, the government has taken several initiatives into this direction and provided tap water connections to the people.
Earlier moving the bill, Mr Yadav said, the bill will not only give impetus to industries but also makes progress towards environment protection. He said, the bill will streamline the appointment of key officials of the State Pollution Control Board. Mr Yadav said, the amendment will provide certain mandatory qualifications, experience and procedure to ensure fair and transparent appointment of chairperson of the State Pollution Control Board.
Initiating the discussion on the bill, BJP MP Laxmikant Bajpayee said, the bill is intended to address the delay in clearance for establishing industrial units and their functioning. Participating in the discussion, TMC MP Jawahar Sircar opposed the Bill and questioned the decriminalization of offences by industries polluting country’s major rivers like Yamuna and Ganga. He termed the Bill as against the federal structure. RSP MP N K Premachandran requested the Chair to send the Bill to the parliamentary standing committee for further scrutiny. He said, the Bill is against the basic principles of criminal jurisprudence and the quantum of the Bill is disproportionate. Sulata Deo of BJD highlighted the need of the amendments saying that robust mechanism is necessary to check water pollution menace. Dr M Thambidurai of AIADMK, Subhash Chandra Bose Pilli of YSRCP and Dr V Sivadasan CPI (M), among others participated in the discussion. (AIR NEWS)