Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday made a recommendation to the National Capital Civil Services Authority for the suspension of senior IAS officer and Delhi Pollution Control Committee Chairman Ashwani Kumar, for allegedly stopping a study to ascertain pollution sources in Delhi and shutting down an anti-smog tower, government officials said.
Earlier, sources in the government had claimed that a file with the chief minister’s recommendation to suspend Kumar was sent to Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena for his approval.
However, the officials later said the matter had been placed before the National Capital Civil Services Authority (NCCSA) as the Lt Governor’s involvement was not required at this stage.
No immediate reaction was available from Mr Kumar, who is also the principal secretary (home) and divisional commissioner in the Delhi government.
Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai had recently alleged that Mr Kumar stalled a source apportionment study by IIT-Kanpur that was approved by the Delhi Cabinet and had written to Mr Kejriwal demanding his suspension.
Mr Rai also accused the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) chairman of stopping payment of Rs 2 crore for the operation and maintenance of the smog tower in Connaught Place due to which it remained idle.
He also wrote to the chief minister requesting him to suspend Kumar for his “insensitive and irresponsible behaviour”.
Mr Kumar is member secretary of the National Capital Civil Services Authority (NCCSA) headed by the chief minister that takes a final call on disciplinary action against IAS officers in the Delhi government. The Delhi chief secretary is the third member of the panel.
Refuting the charges against Mr Kumar, sources in the DPCC said the smog tower was not yielding desirable results and did not have any impact on pollution remediation.
They also claimed that the source apportionment study seemed to suggest that air pollution in Delhi was caused by external sources even when there were no incidents of parali (paddy stubble) burning in winter.
Also, the DPCC sought details of how the IIT-K validated their model with respect to actual data for their study but no response was received, sources had claimed.
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