#PUCCheck: When Will Pune Take The Rising Pollution Levels Seriously?

Air pollution from vehicle
Image used for representation only

One assumes that a city like Pune with such high vehicular density, would pay more heed to the resultant pollution levels and the impact on air quality…

Air pollution is expected to rise even higher, given the fact that over 700 private vehicles are being added daily.

For the record, the Pollution Under Control (PUC) inspection and certification is mandatory according to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989.

The Ministry Of Road Transport (after a Supreme Court Order) instructed the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) ‘to direct all companies not to issue or renew insurance of vehicles unless they have ‘pollution under control’ (PUC) certificate.’

Despite random checks carried out in the city, these norms are rarely adhered to by the public at large. While some blame unauthorised PUC outlets exploiting them, others blame the public transport vehicles for high emission levels and believe that this needs to be contained first.

Pune365 spoke to activists and informed citizens to take stock of the factors leading to the disregard for strict pollution control checks. Here are the facts and the reactions: 

In a few states of our country, a photo of the vehicle getting a PUC check is compulsory.

Reports suggest that Pune RTO had in fact ordered (in the year 2017) 350 PUC centres in the city to fix a camera to their checking units and enable real-time photogrpahs of the vehicles and attach the same to the checking slip’ 

The absence of carrying a PUC certificate after undergoing the emission test of the vehicles attracts fines. The certificate is issued in the name of Maharashtra Transport Department which can be obtained from various authorized centres in the city, the validity of which is six months.

                               Facts You Ought To Know 

  • A recent study by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a Delhi-based think tank, reflected an 18.3 per cent high growth rate in vehicle registrations in Pune.
  • The population of the city stands approximately at 3.5 million and the vehicular population of the city has now reportedly, crossed a staggering 3.6 million.
  • If 30 lakh 2-wheelers use 1 litre of fuel daily, 7500 metric tonnes of Carbon dioxide will be generated daily in city atmosphere. (1 litre of fuel generates around 2.5 kg of CO2, when burnt).
  • Pune has only 36 lakh trees to absorb this ever-increasing harmful emission.

“You can see several PMPML buses stalled and a huge number of them releasing clouds of dangerous dark smoke,” says Shreekant Maske, a businessman.

The bigger the vehicle, the more it pollutes; Hence, the authorities should make it a point to clean their own mess before they point fingers at the public.

Almost every day, we read reports and accounts of RTI’s being filed on improving the condition of public transport in the city, yet, there is no visible change.” adds Maske.

According to a PMPML official, it is mandatory to have a PUC done to get the RTO certification.

“Hence, once every six months, the vehicles undergo checking before RTO formalities and plying on the roads. The PUC is done in rotation depending on the date when the vehicle was purchased.

Just yesterday, 18 buses got their clearance from the RTO and another 18 are scheduled for the 15th. Every vehicle has to have a valid PUC. This process is executed by a private agency that has the tender. This agency is changed every year.

Jugal Rathi, President of the PMP Pravasi Manch says that in addition to the already existing vehicular pollution in Pune, the badly maintained vehicles and adulterated fuel is making it worse.

The existing legal provisions are openly flouted, with no one to keep a check!

Both, the city administration and the citizens are equally responsible for pollution.Several severe fatal accidents are occurring almost daily and this is most often because of the open flouting of existing rules.  

Inspite of this, Pune is awarded the most liveable city in the ease of living index. This is pure mockery that reflects the paradox we are living with. 

PUC rules are an effective method to keep a check on the pollution levels, yet, there is obviously a lot of work that needs to be done in this arena.

There have been reports of fake PUC testing machines, unauthorised PUC centres etc but I do not see any improvement in the process of verifying or inspecting these centres/vehicles.

Rules aren’t followed and most often it is more a formality than a process that is to be carried out diligently.  

Ignoring the significance of the PUC is aggravating the situation and giving a message to the public at large they can do whatever they wish. These rules apply to everyone and PMPML is no different,” adds Rathi.

“Having a PUC certification is very essential keeping in mind our air quality. Yet, there are several PUC centres in the city issuing certificates without keeping to the level norms” says Pratap Misra, a travel agent.

“One cannot rely on these centres, but on the other hand how do we know which one is authentic? These centres in my opinion should be regularly inspected and their licenses should be cancelled in case of any malpractice,” adds Misra.

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#All views are those of the respondent’s and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.

Loveleen Kaur

Loveleen Kaur

A Dreamer, Traveler and All-time Foodie who is happiest in the company of Animals! loveleen@pune365.com
Loveleen Kaur

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