LAHORE - The Environment Protection Department has sought amendments in service rules to rectify the mistake of posting of Dr Javed Iqbal as DG Environment Protection Agency one year back.

The Environment secretary has asked his counterpart in Regulations Wing of Services and General Administration Department to convene a meeting of Service Rules Committee for considering and approving proposed amendments in rules relating to new induction and transfer from amongst the officers of BPS-20 for posting as DG EPA.

Dr Javed Iqbal, Technical Advisor of Housing Department having PhD in Environment, was posted as EPA Director General on June 13, 2015, in violation of service rules. Prior to that, he worked as Managing Director Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) Lahore. As per the service rules, the post of DG EPA can be filled through promotion from amongst the directors. If none is available for promotion, the post can be filled either by initial recruitment or by transfer from Provincial Management Service (PMS)/All Pakistan Unified Group (APUG) officers.

Dr Javed Iqbal is not a PMS/APUG officer and as such he did not fulfill the set criterion for posting as DG EPA.

Realising blatant violation of rules more than one year back, the EPD has proposed amendment that suit Dr Javed Iqbal to continue as EPA DG.

Presently, a PhD in Environmental Sciences/Engineering having 10 years experience in projects relating to environmental issues can be directly inducted as Director General provided he/she has two publications in HEC recognised journals. The EPD has proposed increasing experience to 15 years and number of publications to 10.

The EPD has also proposed filling the post of EPA DG by transfer from amongst officers having PhD in Environmental Sciences/Engineering with 15 years experience in work relating to environmental protection and not by transfer from PMS/APUG officers. Sources told The Nation that the proposed amendments has taken the slot out of APUG/PMS officers range and given to officers having PhD, a criterion that suited Dr Javed Iqbal only and not any other officer.

The EPA officers lamented that instead of correcting the mistake by transferring the existing DG, the government is bent upon bringing changes in rules that allow him to continue holding the office for a longer period.

“The proposed amendments are aimed at accommodating the officer that has already caused deterioration in the performance of EPA. No case has been filed with the Environmental Tribunal during his one year tenure as DG EPA. Moreover, decisions in majority of already filed cases have gone against the EPA due to lack of interest on the part of the top EPA officer.

“At the time of his posting as DG, all eight laboratories were working. Now all the laboratories are dysfunctional. The same is the case with two fixed monitoring stations at Jinnah Hall and Township and three display stations at Gaddafi Stadium, outside Met Office and Jinnah Hall”, said a senior EPA officer, who wanted not to be named fearing victimisation.

He further pointed out a major blunder of issuing double NOC for Orange Line Metro Train project. “The DG issued second NOC for Orange Line project in May 2016 when the first one issued in July 2015 was already challenged in the Lahore High Court.

The court also passed adverse remarks against the DG EPA”, he pointed out.

“He is still occupying the house of MD WASA. How he can take action on complaints against WASA is also a big question”, the EPA officer added.