August 30, 2018
CHENNAI: A group of environmental activists have urged Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami to revoke the transfer of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board Chairperson Mohammed Nasimuddin (who was transferred to the Energy Department on August 23).
In a letter to the Chief Minister, the activists said, “The transfer is ill-timed and sends wrong signal to the public about the Government in keeping Vedanta Sterlite shut.”
“Nasimuddin enjoys public confidence and is perceived to be a person of integrity and intelligence. He has been involved and informed about Sterlite’s operations in Tuticorin. His continued presence as TNPCB chief would be invaluable given the imminence of the NGT-appointed inquiry committee less than two weeks from now,” they said in the letter.
The members said the apex court had come down heavily on the ad hoc appointment of IAS officials in violation of various rules. “The court in its September 22, 2017 order directed all the States to frame “appropriate guidelines or recruitment rules within six months, considering the institutional requirements of the State pollution control boards, and the law laid down by the statute, by this court and as per reports of various committees and authorities so as to ensure that suitable professionals and experts are appointed to the PCBs,” they said.
“However, the deadline has passed without Tamil Nadu taking any steps to frame guidelines for appointment for appointment of chairperson of TNPCB. In the meantime, it has sought to replace one ad hoc appointee with another in violation of well settled positions of law. No public interest will be served by transferring a well-informed officer o the eve of a critical inquiry relating to the fate of Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper Smelter,” the letter read.
“We urge you to reconsider your decision and ensure that Nasimuddin continues as Chairperson of TNPCB, even after assuming his new role as Energy Department Secretary, at least till the enquiry is over, the activists said.