While centres issuing pollution under control (PUC) certificates are plenty in Pune, only 244 such centres seem to be registered with the Pune Regional Transport Office (RTO). In response to an RTI query by The Indian Express, the RTO also did not have any information about the surprise checks that were supposed to be conducted on such centres in 2015.
Both two and four-wheeler drivers in Maharashtra have to carry PUC certificates, the absence of which attracts fines. Issued in the name of Maharashtra Transport Department, these certificates are obtained from various PUC centres, which dot the lanes and bylanes of Pune. Other than the ones operating at the petrol pumps, mobile PUC centres are also seen at various parts of the city. Operators are expected to issue such certificates after the emission test of the vehicles.
RTO’s reply lists only 244 authorised centres that are registered to issue PUC certificates. As many as 230 of these centres issue PUC for petrol engine vehicles, while 109 such centres issue for diesel vehicles. Some of the centres issue PUC for both diesel and petrol engine vehicles. Majority of the PUC centres are either with petrol pumps, showrooms of vehicles. Few are issued to individuals who operate out of fixed addresses.
The rules framed by the Maharashtra Transport Commissionerate mandate random checks on PUC centres but Pune RTO is yet to implement them. In response to a further query about the number of times such checks were done, the RTO stated that no information was available with them.
Pune RTO (MH-12) jurisdiction is not just limited to Pune city but spreads across other parts of the district — Baramati, Indapur, Mulshi, Shirur, Haveli, Bhor Velhe etc. In fact, the Pune RTO covers more than 70 per cent of the Pune district. Pune RTO has the highest vehicle population crossing the 31 lakh. This office also witnesses the highest registration of vehicles with around 23,000 new vehicles being registered every day.
Zohaib Tanwir, a resident of Vishrantwadi, said he mostly gets the PUCs for his vehicle issued from the centres running at the nearest petrol pumps. “The attendant checks two of the 10 mandatory parameters. I did not know that these centres needed authorisation to run,” he said.
With such high vehicular density, it is expected that air pollution due to vehicular emission would be massive. Absence of stringent checks, experts say, would but aggravate the problem. The number 244, as per former district transport authority member Baba Shinde, was an eye-opener as every corner of the city seems to have a PUC issuing centre.