PCB in Kerala will now act only on plaints routed through K-CIS portal

It is part of State govt’s efforts to improve ease of doing business and ensure transparency in inspections

The State Pollution Control Board (PCB) will no longer act on complaints that are not routed through the Kerala Centralised Inspection System (K-CIS) portal for industries.

The decision forms part of the government’s decision to improve ease of doing business and ensure transparency in inspections carried out by various departments. Besides the PCB, the K-CIS integrates and centralises inspections conducted by four departments / agencies, including the departments of Factories and Boilers, Labour, Legal Metrology and Local Self Governments.

The board’s move has come in for criticism from petitioners, who asked how a common man lacking a smartphone or technical knowledge to access the portal could register a complaint. Vipin Nath, a resident of Kakkadkara near Ambalamedu, who had alleged sound pollution from BPCL’s Propylene Derivative Petrochemical Project (PDPP) unit, said he was told by board officials that complaints not routed through the centralised portal would not be entertained.

However, PCB Chairman A.B. Pradeep Kumar said the decision to consider complaints filed through the centralised portal was not applicable to sudden episodes of pollution incidents from industrial units. “But all other complaints will have to come through the portal as directed by the government,” he added.

Board officials said they were still in the dark on whether the new decision would hinder efforts to carry out surprise inspections on erring units, especially in the wake of incidents like illegal discharge into waterbodies or air / water pollution by industries. They also asked how surprise inspections would yield the desired results, as the new rules maintained that the industry concerned should be alerted via SMS and e-mail about impending inspections.

Complaints lodged by the public will be directed to the departments concerned. Inspections will be held solely on approval from heads of departments.

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