SEIAA chairperson appointment: Central ministry sends back Haryana’s proposal to appoint retired army officer - Hindustan Times
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SEIAA chairperson appointment: Central ministry sends back Haryana’s proposal to appoint retired army officer

By, Chandigarh
Jan 20, 2024 07:10 AM IST

Haryana asks environment ministry to allow former IAS officer Srow to continue as SEIAA chairperson till the new appointment. The Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) has sent back Haryana government’s recommendation to appoint a retired army officer, Lt Colonel Monish Ahuja as the new chairperson of State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), Haryana.

The Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) has sent back Haryana government’s recommendation to appoint a retired army officer, Lt Colonel Monish Ahuja as the new chairperson of State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), Haryana. The central ministry did not accept the state government’s recommendation on the grounds that the former army officer did not fulfil the criteria of being an expert with at least 15 years of relevant experience.

The Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) has sent back Haryana government’s recommendation to appoint a retired army officer, Lt Colonel Monish Ahuja as the new chairperson of State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), Haryana. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/ Representational image)
The Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) has sent back Haryana government’s recommendation to appoint a retired army officer, Lt Colonel Monish Ahuja as the new chairperson of State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), Haryana. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/ Representational image)

The SEIAA is an arm of the MoEFCC which has been delegated powers to consider and grant environmental clearance for a category of projects, including mining, infrastructure, industrial and construction.

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Even though the term of the incumbent Haryana SEIAA chairperson, Sameer Pal Srow, a retired IAS officer, had not ended, Srow in a rather surprising move tendered his resignation in December 2023. The former IAS officer who was appointed as SEIAA chairperson in September 2021 would have completed his three-year term in September 2024.

Subsequently, the state government recommended the name of Lt Col (retd) Monish Ahuja, presently a resident of Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra, for appointment as new Haryana SEIAA chairperson. After the central ministry sent the state government’s recommendation back, the latter on January 10 again wrote to the secretary, MoEFCC for reconsidering the matter and appointing Lt Col (retd) Ahuja as SEIAA chairperson. The January 10 state government communication to the MoEFCC also said that the former officer Sameer Pal Srow may be allowed to continue to work as SEIAA chairperson till the appointment of the new incumbent. Calls made to state environment officials did not get a response.

The January 10 communication asking the MoEFCC to reconsider Lt Col (retd) Ahuja for Haryana SEIAA chairperson is based on a representation given by the former army officer to chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

“I have learnt that the recommendations made by Haryana government vide letter December 15, 2023, for the post of chairman, SEIAA Haryana has been sent back from MoEFCC with my name not accepted for criteria of expert not having 15 years of experience. This is not correct and hence my representation letter is to bring forward a few facts on this matter,’’ said the representation. Maintaining that he fulfilled the criteria having an experience of more than 16 years as an expert and more than 28 years as a professional, the former army officer in his representation said that since this is a progressive instance of an industry professional being recommended for the post of Haryana SEIAA chairman, there is surely a need to re-look into the criteria as professional, which is separate and exclusive to the criteria of expert.

“With the previous incumbent Haryana SEIAA chairman resigning from his post and the Haryana government making a choice of an industry professional, it is surely a recommendation which the MoEFCC needs to consider and reconsider in the light of the facts which have been shared in this representation,’’ Lt Col (retd) Ahuja wrote.

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