Despite massive investments made by the Delhi government in setting up a centralised PUC network to check vehicular emissions, the data is virtually unsuable according to a recent report by the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA). In contrast, the report said cities in the NCR, which use the antiquated “manual method” of checking pollution levels, had more useful data. ‘ As soon as the PUC test is done, the results are automatically transferred to the central server, called ‘Paryavaran Mitra’. However, the EPCA report noted: “Properly disaggregated data related to vintage of vehicles in terms of adherence to BSIV, BSIII or BSII; older emission standards; age or manufacturing date of vehicles, or vehicle category-wise data was not available.”
While the rationale behind networking all PUC centres in Delhi into a central server was to reduce manipulation of results by PUC operators, the usability of data from the online system remains poor.
“Despite there being a huge investment to collect these fields of data at the level of the PUC centre, this is not recorded properly in the centralised server due to mismanagement of the software,” the report said. The EPCA’s audit team also found that data on diesel vehicles was “inadequate” and “garbled”.
Analysis of Delhi data also showed that close to 20 per cent vehicles that were tested scored zero emissions, and that the recording of all emission test results was stored, collated and reported very poorly.
]The report also found that the system currently only provides “gross data in terms of pass and fail”. Data for both cars and two-wheelers was clubbed together. Meanwhile, in other towns in the NCR — where data has been recorded manually — actual tested emission levels for both diesel and petrol vehicles were not available in most districts, the EPCA found.
Analysis of data from PUC centres in Uttar Pradesh showed “some anomalies indicating malpractice on the ground – such as series of vehicles with emission levels exceeding the norms being categorised as ‘PUC Pass’.”
The EPCA report also found that in several cases, data was missing in key categories. Patterns were seen across several districts, such as Bulandshahr, Hapur and Gautam Buddh Nagar, “where scores of separate vehicles tested showed exactly the same emission levels”. In other places, the recorded emission data was exactly the same as the norms, the report stated.
“For several two-wheelers tested on the same day, the recorded HC and CO levels were 4,500 ppm and 3.5 per cent respectively (which are the norms), irrespective of the make, model and year of manufacture,” it added.
Noting that “proper data keeping and recording” in itself can expose malpractice, the EPCA proposed a “uniform common format for PUC data recording and reporting, for both the manual and automatic data recording system.” This will also help in remote auditing of the PUC centres, the report stated.
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