The transport department has failed to launch eco-friendly vehicles to reduce pollution level in Dehradun, which was ranked 31st among the most-polluted cities in the world according to a recent WHO report.
The authorities have not done anything to check pollution in the city where 350 buses and more than 800 shared autos run on diesel.
Though the officials at the regional transport office (RTO) claimed that they took action against the vehicles not going for annual pollution checkup, this is not enough.
Brijmohan Sharma, secretary of SPECS, a non-governmental organisation which works against pollution and adulteration in the city told Hindustan Times on Thursday, “The pollution level is higher because there’s no monitoring of diesel-run vehicles for public transport.”
According to RTO records, out of 22% of 7, 629 vehicles penalised each year for violating pollution norms, 15% are commercial and private, while 7% are for public transport. However, the department has given permits to only 50 e-rickshaws this year.
“Certainly, more efforts are needed to launch an eco-friendly public transport system,” said Mahesh Bhandari, president Doon Resident Welfare Front.
Rising population has also contributed to the city’s increasing pollution level, as between 2001 and 2011 it has seen 32% surge in number of residents.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) norms, the respirable-suspended particulate matter (RSPM) level shall be 60. But, the data collected by Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board (UEPPCB) at three places – Clock Tower, Raipur Road and ISBT – shows its three-fold increase. The RSPM recorded in the capital is 187-388, and the level of sulphur dioxide has gone up from 24 to 29 against its permissible limit of 20.
However, the diesel-run autos do not follow the CPCB norms. A resident of Vasant Vihar Biswajeet Sinha said, “People depend on such vehicles, as they do not have any other means of transport.” Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, who was the chief minister of the state in 2011, had mooted the idea of mono rail, but it was rejected for high cost.
Arvind Pandey, assistant regional transport officer (enforcement) told Hindustan Times, “At present, we don’t have any plan to launch an eco-friendly public system.”