Critically short staffed!

Why is the Central Groundwater Board unable to monitor sub-soil water pollution? The reason is certainly not original: India's groundwater inspection authority, with a 5,300-strong staff, claims it needs about 40 more people before it can undertake a study of the 17 critically polluted industrial estates.

The ministry of environment and forests (MEF) has asked the board to find out the level of pollution in industrially developed centres such as Vapi and Ankleshwar in Gujarat, Chembur in Maharashtra, Durgapur in West Bengal, Dhanbad in Bihar, Faridabad in Haryana, Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, Bhadravati in Karnataka and Ranipet in Tamil Nadu.

A year after MEF made its request, which also contained an assurance to meet the more than Rs 3 crore expense, the board is yet to begin work. Board officials maintain they have approached the ministries of water resources and finance to get the extra posts sanctioned. The finance minister is apparently not impressed.