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10 empanelled PCBA labs to be derecognized

By RITURAJ BORTHAKUR
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GUWAHATI, July 3 - Amidst reports of rampant irregularities in the Pollution Control Board, Assam, (PCBA) its new chairman in-charge AM Singh has begun cracking the whip, directing derecognition of ten private laboratories which were empanelled by the board without following any norms.

The chairman has also recommended a probe as to how the laboratories were empanelled and how they had been functioning over the years.

These private laboratories were empanelled about eight years back, and interestingly eight of them are located in Guwahati where the board also has its central laboratory.

�We can understand if we tie-up with some private labs in places like Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, etc., where we do not have a regional laboratory. But there is no logic of empanelling eight labs in Guwahati where the central lab of the board exists and is equipped to conduct all mandatory tests. Neither there is any shortage of staff at the central lab,� official sources told The Assam Tribune.

Sources said no open tender was called before empanelling the laboratories.

The credibility of the reports � of tests conducted on air, water and hazardous waste - furnished by these laboratories have also come under scrutiny.

�Industries seeking licenses used to directly approach these private labs and get the mandatory tests done. Generally, the applicants should have come to the PCBA which would then refer them to a private lab if the tests cannot be done here. Moreover, the PCBA also did not get any processing fee from these labs,� the sources said.

Due to the �outsourcing� of the tests, the board used to lose a revenue of around Rs 2 crore a year. Doubts are being raised if the labs were empanelled by vested interests.

The board has one central lab in Guwahati and four regional labs in Silchar, Bongaigaon, Tezpur and Sivasagar.

Meanwhile, sources said at least seventeen recruitments done by the board in the last couple of years have also come under scanner.

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10 empanelled PCBA labs to be derecognized

GUWAHATI, July 3 - Amidst reports of rampant irregularities in the Pollution Control Board, Assam, (PCBA) its new chairman in-charge AM Singh has begun cracking the whip, directing derecognition of ten private laboratories which were empanelled by the board without following any norms.

The chairman has also recommended a probe as to how the laboratories were empanelled and how they had been functioning over the years.

These private laboratories were empanelled about eight years back, and interestingly eight of them are located in Guwahati where the board also has its central laboratory.

�We can understand if we tie-up with some private labs in places like Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, etc., where we do not have a regional laboratory. But there is no logic of empanelling eight labs in Guwahati where the central lab of the board exists and is equipped to conduct all mandatory tests. Neither there is any shortage of staff at the central lab,� official sources told The Assam Tribune.

Sources said no open tender was called before empanelling the laboratories.

The credibility of the reports � of tests conducted on air, water and hazardous waste - furnished by these laboratories have also come under scrutiny.

�Industries seeking licenses used to directly approach these private labs and get the mandatory tests done. Generally, the applicants should have come to the PCBA which would then refer them to a private lab if the tests cannot be done here. Moreover, the PCBA also did not get any processing fee from these labs,� the sources said.

Due to the �outsourcing� of the tests, the board used to lose a revenue of around Rs 2 crore a year. Doubts are being raised if the labs were empanelled by vested interests.

The board has one central lab in Guwahati and four regional labs in Silchar, Bongaigaon, Tezpur and Sivasagar.

Meanwhile, sources said at least seventeen recruitments done by the board in the last couple of years have also come under scanner.

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