EVEN AS the Regional Transport Office (RTO) fines motorists for failing to carry their Polllution Under Control (PUC) certificates, it seems to be failing miserably when it comes to testing of centres which issue such certificates. In answer to an RTI query filed by The Indian Express, the Pune RTO has stated that in the last one year they do not have any record of any inspections carried out at the centres by RTO officials- despite this being made mandatory by the State Transport department.
PUC certificates are issued at authorised centers after measuring the emission levels of the vehicles. These centres have often been tainted for the lackadaiscal manner in which they carry out the testing and the results that are fudged. Instances have also come to light when PUC certificates were issued without testing the emission of the vehicle also.
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The Pune RTO though is seen to be failing in almost all accounts when it comes to the compliance of the above conditions. In response to the number of times the RTO has inspected PUC issuing centers, the reply states “The officers of PUC squads have been instructed to give surprise visits to the authorized PUC centers. However the information regarding how many times which officer has visited which PUC center is not available on record,” the reply read. The reply also said that during yearly renewal of PUC centers it is mandatory for the center/proprietor to get thePUC machines inspected.
Although the department of transport prescribes minimum qualification for people running the centre, the Pune RTO seems to be unaware of it. “No minimum qualification for the proprietors of the PUC centers have been prescribed. The only condition that the operator of the PUC machines are required to be trained by the PUC machine manufacturer,” the reply read.
While testing and calibration of machines are done by the Vehicle Research and Development Establishment (VRDE), Automotive Research Association of India, Central Machinery Testing and Training Institute, Indian Institute of Petroleum and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute the district level RTOs are supposed to conduct surprise checks on these centres.
Directions issued by the state transport commissioners say that these centres should maintain meticulous records of PUC certificates issued. Also, people who man these centers are expected to hold a minimum qualification of certificate in Automobile Engineering or Motor Mechanics issued by Industrial Training Institute of Government of Maharashtra and should know “the procedure for minor adjustments/repairs with which the pollution levels can be brought down, without affecting overall performance of the engine.”
With Pune air quality breaching records every year in terms of pollution, the laxity in the issuance of PUC certificates experts say is a cause of major concern. Officers of the Pune RTO said that PUC squad is often given extra duties which hampers their work for PUC centre checking. When the matter was brought to the notice of deputy RTO Anil Valiv, he said, he will look into the matter. “We will ensure the squad function wells and all the statutory conditions are fulfilled,” he said.