More than 70 per cent of all diesel vehicles running on the streets of the Bihar capital do not have Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificates and as high as 83 per cent of the rest have dubious certificates acquired through questionable means, according to the latest study released on Sunday.
Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED), which conducted the study for Patna Traffic Police, said the PUC certification process in its present form in Patna needs a “systematic overhauling” as it is ineffective in its implementation and compliances.
The erring diesel vehicles are largely the public fleet such as buses, commercial diesel taxis and auto-rickshaws. Among petrol-run vehicles, mainly privately owned four-wheelers and two-wheelers, 24 per cent do not have PUC certificates, said the on-road study, ‘Assessment of Vehicles’ Compliance with the PUC programme in Patna’.
“Apart from poor implementation of PUC process, a significant number of end-of-life vehicles on Patna’s roads are worsening the air quality situation in the city. As many as 16 per cent of the total inspected / tested vehicles are older than ten years and still running on the city’s roads,” said Ankita Jyoti, senior program officer of CEED.
The report also highlights the poor state of affairs of public transport in Patna. Most of the buses inspected in the study did not have the PUC certificate and also failed in the on-road PUC test.
“Worse, 35 per cent of all tested buses were found to have no necessary equipment such as an alternator for the PUC test. The study found a majority of vehicles having been given shoddy PUC certificates without being physically tested, said Ramapati Kumar, CEO of CEED.
Considering the high levels of air pollution in Patna, which has been labelled as the country’s most polluted city recently, CEED recommended establishing an online network for transmission of PUC data to reduce interference, stricter inspection of all PUC centres and setting up of public grievance cells to register complaints against the polluting vehicles. CEED also recommended a stringent law to phase out end-of-life vehicles.