CAG: Air pollution rocketing in Bihar but check mechanism lacking
The comptroller and auditor general of India’s latest report, tabled in the Bihar legislature, says the state government needs to do more to check vehicular pollutionindia Updated: Mar 29, 2017 16:44 IST
The comptroller and auditor general (CAG) of India has asked the Bihar government and its transport department to maintain a database of pollution testing stations.
It has also asked them to ensure that the tests they conduct were authentic and due procedure was followed while issuing pollution under control (PUC) certificates.
This would enable the department to control vehicular pollution in Patna and other places in Bihar, read the CAG report for the year ending March 2016, which was tabled in the state legislature on Monday.
The report said a scrutiny of records revealed that the office of the state transport commissioner (STC) was not maintaining the database of pollution testing stations in Bihar.
The absence of any control by STC over functioning of pollution testing stations could be the reason for increased vehicular pollution level, it added.
The CAG report said more than 80% people living in urban areas of the state were “exposed to air quality levels that exceeded the limits specified by World Health Organization (WHO).”
It quoted the Guidelines for Ambient Air Quality Monitoring, issued by Central Pollution Control Board, as saying that vehicular emission was a major source of respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) at 280 against permissible limit of 60 micrograms per cubic metre in Patna.
The report observed that Patna witnessed a steep increase in number of vehicles from 2.34 lakh on April 1, 2011 to 6.74 lakh on March 31, 2016.
“This made it clear the exponential increase in number of vehicles in Patna played an important role in the rise in pollution level in Patna,” it said.
Scrutiny of records also revealed that gas analysers/smoke metres supplied by the centre, were issued to eight district transport officers (DTOs) and 22 MVIs to check if motor vehicles met emission and pollution control norms and to issue PUC certificates after charging a prescribed fee.
However, they were not utilised and kept idle.
“On being pointed out, the department stated (October 2016) that information was being sought from the officials concerned,” the report added.
The report also said licences of 106 pollution testing stations were not renewed as the STC did not maintain database of pollution testing stations.
“Consequently, renewal fee of Rs 11.30 lakh was not realised,” the report said, adding that the returns regarding the number of vehicles tested and revenue collected were not submitted by pollution testing stations.