Irregularities alleged in grant of PUC certificates, Transport Department assures action

City in grip of rising air pollution
Report by: 
ROOPA LALL
Port Blair
22 May 2017

Though the efforts of the Traffic Police towards containing various violations is drawing appreciation, the easygoing approach of the force in checking smoke emissions from various types of the vehicles is being questioned by various quarters. The city has witnessed a surge in vehicular population in the recent years and to deal with the rising smoke levels, it was made mandatory for vehicle owners to get PUC (Pollution Under Control) certification in respect of emissions. But motorists claim that despite the law in force, the city is presently reeling under rising air pollution as an authenticity check of such certification has gone missing. Sources even allege that the owners of older vehicles have connived with the agency issuing PUC certificates to obtain the permit by unlawful means.  
“The city known for its green cover and least levels of air pollution won’t be able to retain the title for long. Nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide is alarmingly increasing in the air with every passing day affecting the health of residents as motorists have become used to inhaling toxic gases emitted by automobiles in the city. The major cause of such alarming rise in air pollution is private and government buses, trucks besides older vehicles that run on city roads.
Majority of these vehicles emitting high levels of smoke have surpassed their service period, but they continue to ply with no check by enforcing agencies like the Pollution Control Board or the Traffic Police. The Traffic Police and the Transport Department should collaborate and deploy teams at places like Bengali Club uphill, stretch leading to DC Office, VIP road etc where such vehicles emitting high levels of smoke can be easily detected. Owners of such vehicles should be fined and steps should be taken to declare vehicles that have crossed the operational period unfit,” demanded some residents of the city.
The Deputy Superintendent of Police (Traffic), Mr M Ummar maintained that whenever vehicles emitting high levels of smoke are noticed by the traffic cops deployed at various parts, penalty of Rs 1000 is imposed on the spot and the owners are asked to get their vehicles checked for smoke emission levels. “But surprisingly, the vehicle owners manage to obtain PUC certificates from the concerned agency. As the vehicle owners produce the certificate when intercepted, we are rendered helpless. The Traffic Police are doing its best to contain smoke pollution in the city, but the Transport Department should also devise strict measures in this regard. The Traffic Department is ready to render all possible support to the Transport Department to bring down smoke pollution in this territory,” said Mr Ummar.
The Mechanical Engineer of Transport Department, Mr Benoy asserted that the Pollution Control Certificates are issued to vehicle owners only after following the prescribed norms. “The task of issuing the PUC certificates has been outsourced to a private agency. In the event of any doubts over emission levels, the Traffic Police can refer such cases to the Transport Department. We don’t have enforcement teams to check such violations, but we readily share information with the Traffic Police whenever sought for. The Transport Department will ensure strict action against vehicle owners found violating the prescribed smoke emission levels whenever such cases are forwarded to us,” assured Mr Benoy.