The Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board (JSPCB), today, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Chicago Trust (UC Trust), announcing the Star Rating Program for industries in the state. The UC Trust, through the Tata Centre for Development (TCD) and Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC India) will support JSPCB in rolling out the star rating program that categorizes industries from 1-star to 5-stars, with 1-star being the least compliant and 5-stars being the most compliant to pollution standards set by the regulator.
“It is our privilege to engage with marquee organizations such as TCD at UChicago and EPIC India, which will help JSPCB fulfill its mandate through an ambitious Star Rating Program,” said Chief Secretary Sudhir Tripathi, during the event, which was attended by a wide range of stakeholders, starting from industries to civil society and academicians to bureaucrats.
“Over the last few years, JSPCB has taken several progressive steps, starting from adopting real-time monitoring of effluents from the industries to going online with the entire process of applying for consent to establish and operate. Our collaboration with the University of Chicago is in line with the vision of bringing best-in-class expertise to abate air and pollution. I assure you that the ambit of Jharkhand Star Rating Program will not be restricted to PM emission, but will gradually cover all other parameters of air pollution,” said JSPCB Chairman A. K. Rastogi.
“We will march ahead with our commitment to transparency by joining hands with the University of Chicago,” added JSPCB member-secretary Rajeev Lochan Bakshi.
Addressing the audience during the launch, Development Commissioner of Jharkhand, DK Tiwari, said, “I am confident that Five Star Rating Program is going to create a great level of awareness and put pressure on polluting industries to reduce their emission without force of law. By signing up for this program, JSPCB will reap impressive dividends.”
Speaking about the collaboration, Ken Lee, Executive Director, EPIC India said, “Jharkhand government’s commitment to transparency and accountability is encouraging. We are excited to see the scope of our engagement expanding beyond the Five Star Rating Program, with the government taking great interest in adapting national and international best practices to address key environmental challenges of the state. I am optimistic that our collaboration will help JSPCB advance its goals of providing even cleaner environment to the citizens of Jharkhand.”
While JSPCB has been collecting data on industrial air pollution emissions through a Continuous Emission Monitoring System (CEMS), with this new collaboration, TCD and EPIC India will provide support in designing standard operating processes, inspection protocols, lab reports, and provide technical assistance to JSPCB officials in leading the calibration of CEMS devices and ensuring high-quality data collection across all industries.
“By virtue of having worked closely with Maharashtra, Odisha and other state governments towards improving environmental and economic outcomes, I am sure this collaboration will go a long way in improving pollution enforcement in Jharkhand as well. The forging of this partnership echoes the vision of TCD, which is to identify evidence-based solutions that can bring change in the real world.” said Leni Chaudhuri, Country Director, TCD.