The Delhi government is proposing to enforce enhanced standard operating protocols for the pollution under control (PUC) checking centres in the national capital to check errant operators who have been found to be issuing fraudulent certificates to vehicles.
“A randomised system audit has found instances of PUC certificates being issued without appropriate examination of the vehicles,” a senior government official said, adding that this was defeating the purpose of the government’s push towards making vehicle owners get pollution fitness certificates from these PUC centres.
This audit was conducted by the International Centre for Automotive Technology (iCAT) at the behest of the Delhi government’s transport department. The iCAT was established through the National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRIP), which is under the administrative control of the Union Ministry of Heavy Industries.
“Those PUC centre operators that were found issuing fraudulent certificates are going to be penalised,” the official added.
The Delhi government is said to be in talks with various agencies, including the National Informatics Centre, for coming up with the new operating protocols for the PUC centres.
“We have to somehow ensure that the PUC operator actually tests the vehicles and reports emission readings accurately, instead of just arbitrarily issuing certificates in lieu of some undue gratification,” the official said adding that the new protocols will be in place by August this year.
Delhi presently has 966 PUC centres spread over 10 zones. These centres comes in handy for monitoring vehicular pollution and certifying fitness of vehicles as per emission norms. Not carrying a valid PUC certificate for a four wheeler can attract a penalty of Rs 10,000 in the city.
This significant penalty is warranted since vehicular pollution in Delhi is a major issue with estimates suggesting that it contributes to nearly 40% of the capital’s PM 2.5 emissions. The situation aggravated to an extent that the National Green Tribunal barred the plying of more than 10 year old diesel vehicles, and more than 15 year old petrol vehicles in the city.
According to officials in the know, the centre and Delhi government were of the view that the emissions should be a parameter for stopping vehicles from plying on the roads. But the questionable authenticity of the PUC certificates had weakened this argument and the NGT order was upheld by the Supreme Court.