Pollution centres turning them back, diesel car owners in Chandigarh at wits’ end

Under the new MV Act provisions, a vehicle owner found with an expired PUC certificate will have to cough up 10,000. Earlier, the fine was 1,000.
Published on Sep 16, 2019 12:41 AM IST
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ByRajanbir Singh, Chandigarh

Since the implementation of the amended Motor Vehicle Act on September 1, the number of people arriving at fuel stations to get pollution under control (PUC) certificates has tripled. However, those with diesel vehicles are complaining that there aren’t enough outlets for them to get their vehicles checked, and fear getting challaned.

Under the new provisions, a vehicle owner found with an expired PUC certificate will have to cough up 10,000. Earlier, the fine was 1,000.

Amardeep Singh, an advocate at the Punjab and Haryana high court, said: “I have visited many fuel stations in the past two days, but the pollution checking centres are not catering to diesel vehicles. My car’s PUC certificate will expire soon,” he said.

“I have two diesel vehicles, but have not been able to get them checked. I have been going to petrol pumps daily and have wasted hours in lines only to be told that my vehicle won’t be checked,” said Chandigarh Residents Associations Welfare Federation (CRAWFED) chairman Hitesh Puri. Some petrol pumps have even put up a notice that the apparatus for checking diesel vehicles is out of order.

According to a State Transport Authority (STA) official, of the 35 pollution check centres in the city, at least 25 are supposed to cater to diesel vehicles.

What petrol pump owners say

However, petrol pump owners have their own reasons to turn back diesel vehicles.

“We can’t make diesel vehicles line up, as they will clog the petrol pumps. So only those situated on the periphery of the city are checking such vehicles,” said Chandigarh Petroleum Dealers Association general secretary Amandeep Singh. He said machinery for checking pollution must be provided to truck unions so that their members can conduct the tests by themselves.

Anil Manroa, owner of Mann Filling Station in Sector 49, said his pump hadn’t checked diesel vehicles for the past few days due to issues with the server. “Uploading the details for diesel vehicles was taking too much time, but the checking has been started again on Sunday,” he said.

Tiwana Service Station in Sector 43 is one place where the test is being conducted. Its owner Sukhbir Kaur Tiwana said: “Testing diesel vehicles is a much longer process. A reading has to be taken while the car is idling, after which the car is revved up repeatedly to take the reading.” These readings have to be taken six times, and can take up to 20 minutes, she said.

“The percentage of diesel vehicles that fail the PUC test is higher than petrol vehicles. Due to this, many diesel vehicle owners refuse to pay us after the test,” said Colonel SS Pathania (retd), who owns a petrol pump in Sector 34.

What authorities say

“If we find any petrol pump not checking diesel vehicles without a valid reason, we will issue notices to them,” said STA secretary Harjeet Sandhu. Admitting to some glitches in the system that led to queuing up of vehicles, Sandhu said last week, 28,000 vehicles were checked for pollution levels at just one of the 35 outlets in Chandigarh.

Meanwhile, senior superintendent of police (SSP, traffic) Shashank Anand said the department had anticipated this problem and brought it to the notice of the transport department. A senior police official said no challan has been issued for not having a valid PUC certificate yet. “But the drive will soon be started,” he said.

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