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MP Pollution Control Board agreed to replace Chinese firm's foreign directors with Indian official as accused'

Bhopal: Fearing impact on foreign investment, the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board has agreed to a proposal from a Chinese firm to replace its five foreign directors with an Indian official as an accused in a case of violation of environment laws, says an RTI reply.

The directors of a China-based construction equipment manufacturing firm were booked last year in the case. However, the MPPCB held a meeting last month in which it agreed to replace the foreign directors with an Indian staffer.

While having a discussion on the proposal, members of the board expressed the view that the state government is, at present, laying more emphasis on overseas investment for industrial promotion and in this context, foreign investment will be impacted if the five directors of the foreign firm living in China are made accused in the case, said the documents received in response to an RTI application filed by social activist Ajay Dubey.

Hence, the state pollution control board has given approval to make senior manager (human resources) of the firm as a "party" in place of five Chinese directors in the case filed by the board itself before the court, they said.

However, the MPPCB has made it clear that this case was an exception and cannot be cited for any future references, the documents said. As per state government norms, a firm needs to take permission from the state pollution control board for increase in products or production capacity but during inspections in December 2017 and January 2018, it was found that the firm, based in Pithampur, had installed machinery and done construction (at the site) allegedly without taking the requisite permission, a punishable offence, according to the official documents.

The board then filed a case before the chief magistrate, Dhar, last year under relevant provisions of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, against five directors of the firm who are based in China and one authorised signatory, they said.

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