Delhi: Teams to spread out to all petrol pumps for pollution checks
As Delhi continues to breathe severely polluted air, the Delhi government is going all out in its crackdown against polluting vehicles. After deploying enforcement teams from the transport department, the government has now asked all district magistrates (DMs) to deploy teams at all of the city’s over 400 petrol pumps to check vehicles for pollution under control certificates (PUCCs).
“At present, our enforcement teams have been deployed in at least 40 petrol pumps across the city. Now, we have asked the DMs of all the 11 districts to deploy civil defence volunteers at fuel stations. The drive will be intensified after November 10, which is a holiday for Chhath Puja, after which all the petrol pumps of Delhi will be covered under the drive. The DMs are also holding meetings with petrol pump owners to spread awareness among motorists,” said Ashish Kundra, Delhi’s transport commissioner.
According to the government data, the state transport department issued at least 850,000 challans in October against vehicles not having a valid PUCC. Not having a valid PUCC attracts a fine of ₹10,000, six months’ imprisonment or both.
“Between January and September, we issued 550,000 challans, compared to which the crackdown in October has been massive. Our point is clear - a valid PUCC for vehicles is non-negotiable. This month, so far, we have issued over 3,000 challans. Text messages are being sent to over 350,000 more vehicle owners reminding them to get their vehicles tested for pollution,” said Kundra.
HT first reported on October 15 about the government’s plan to check PUCCs of vehicles at fuel stations. Latest government records seen by HT showed that Delhi currently has at least 1 million vehicles registered with the state transport department without a valid PUCC.
Measures for public transport
Though the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and Delhi Metro were yet to implement differential rates to encourage off-peak travel as mandated under the graded response action plan (Grap) measures for severe air quality category, both the public transport agencies said they were running at peak capacity to ensure they carry maximum passengers.
Delhi has a fleet of 6,793 buses of which 3,760 are run by the DTC and 3,033 are operated by the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) Limited through the state transport department. These buses together has a daily ridership of around 4.2 million per day.
“We already are operating all our buses. Our fleet utilisation at present is 100%, excluding a few buses that have to be kept off road for maintenance or repair. Apart from this, we have already increased the number of trips on several routes to accommodate the passenger demand as due to Covid-19 restrictions, no standing passengers are allowed,” said Neeraj Semwal, managing director of DTC.
A Delhi Metro spokesperson also said it is also running all its trains at peak hour capacity since standing passengers are not allowed in the Metro as well.
“Delhi Metro is already operating with maximum frequency for passenger convenience despite the restrictions posed due to Covid protocols,” the DMRC said in a statement.
Parking rates unchanged
The municipal corporations were yet to hike parking rates by three-four times, according to the Grap measures enforced for ‘very poor’ air category on October 28. Municipal officials said it was unlikely that parking rates will be changed.
“It is unlikely that parking rates anywhere in Delhi will be increased. Neither the Delhi government nor the municipal corporations have the will to do so as of now because the civic polls elections are scheduled in the city early next year,” said a senior official of the east Delhi municipal corporation who asked not to be named.