Auto emission testing in the city is on its way to becoming completely automatic by month-end with the transport department eliminating human intervention and adopting real-time data exchange and tech surveillance. Manipulated emission tests are believed to be a major contributor to air pollution in the city.
In the process, the transport department has done away with the hologrammed pollution under control (PUC) certificate. Instead, vehicle owners are being issued an acknowledgement receipt with a QR code that can be scanned by a cop or motor vehicle inspector for all relevant information, including validity and emission standard.
The new system is already in place in 71 auto emission testing centres in the city, 41 in Howrah and 4 in Hooghly. “By July end, our target is to cover all of Kolkata and urban parts of North and South 24 Parganas, Howrah and Hooghly,” a senior official said.
The automatic testing system simply involves feeding the registration number of the vehicle into the transport department’s data base to fetch all relevant details, including the prescribed emission standard on the basis of the vehicle’s compliant emission level (Bharat Stage II, III or IV). A probe is then placed inside the vehicle’s tail pipe for a system-guided test. If the vehicle fails the compliance test, no system-generated receipt is issued.
Ever since the system-guided check began, the number of vehicles failing the tests has gone up dramatically. The fine for driving a vehicle without a valid pollution certificate is Rs 1,000 for first offence and Rs 2,000 for subsequent offences.
Last year, the transport department used its vehicle-mounted remote sensing devices to check emission levels of passing vehicles. The authorities realised that more than Rs 1 crore could be raised in fines from polluting vehicles plying in the city.
According to a transport department official, only a small percentage of vehicles in the city go for regular pollution checks. Hardly any failed in the old system, which allowed some degree of manipulation. In most cases, PUCs were issued without actual diagnosis of the emission standard.
To rule out any possibility of manipulation in the new system, each emission testing centre will be connected to a central grid through a closed circuit television network, and a monitoring officer will be able to access live footage of tests from all centres on a real-time basis. As a follow-up measure, a computer generated renewal alert will be sent to the registered mobile of the vehicle owner.
Source: Times of India