The Delhi government has planned to reduce the cut-off age of cars to undergo fitness tests by five years -- from 15 to 10 years -- and link pollution compliance to insurance benefits as well as fuel purchase to help check rising pollution levels and ensure more road safety in the city.
There are nearly 25 lakh four-wheelers in Delhi with an estimated 1.6 lakh new four-wheelers being added every year.
The four-wheeler boom in the Capital has contributed to the air pollution in a major way. Exhaust from vehicles account for more than 70% of Delhi's air pollution.
"We have asked the transport department to explore the possibility of linking PUC (pollution under check) certificates with the insurance schemes of cars to ensure more people take the emission tests. We're also planning to reduce mandatory fitness age of private vehicles from 15 to 10 years, hence bringing more cars under the overall scrutiny," said a senior government official.
A high-powered committee on environment formed by Delhi's Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, which came up with these recommendations, has also asked the civil supplies department to allow only those vehicles to tank up that have valid PUC certificates.
Jung had formed the high-powered committee in May this year after a World Health Organisation report called Delhi the world's most polluted city.
"For some of these changes, we need amendment in the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989. We're approaching the Union ministry of road, transport and highways and also the insurance regulatory and development authority," the official, who is part of the panel, told HT.
The panel, though, has remained tight-lipped on whether the periodicity of fitness tests would be changed from the current one-time to annual -- as proposed by the transport department recently. Suggestions for outsourcing fitness tests to private workshops have been mooted.
The panel suggests emission checks be made censor-based to minimise human interference. "We also plan to integrate pollution and vehicle registration data to be able to catch violators. PUC norms will be made more stringent for old vehicles," the official said.
Traffic police and transport department officials should intensify fining smoke-belching vehicles and those without PUC certificates, the committee has stated.
Environmentalist Anumita Roychowdhury said, "We welcome these measures. But one also hopes they also put in place institutional mechanism for effective implementation."