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Forget crackers, Delhi air is ruined by rogue vehicles sans pollution certificates

Report shows mandatory pollution under check certification not being asked for during vehicle insurance renewal

Subhayan Chakraborty  |  New Delhi 

Diwali 2017 pics: Air pollution chokes Delhiites, dense fog clouds vision
Smog covers New Delhi after Diwali festival. Photo: PTI

Even as Delhi reels under heightened air post the Diwali festivities, millions of registered in Delhi continue to potentially flout basic Among other rules — most of which have been made stringent after the capital consistently started ranking as among the most polluted metropolises on Earth — a valid under check (PUC) certification is a must for all who want to get their car insurance renewed. A report by Hindustan Times showed that companies and associated vehicle dealers in Delhi continue to give out renewal papers without certificates. It further adds that renewing such licenses online is even easier as the companies involved do not even ask about a The responsibility of implementing the order now lies with the (MORTH), which has now been asked by the Supreme Court-empowered Environment Control Authority (EPCA) to set up checking units at all fuel stations across the capital region. The task may prove gargantuan as Delhi has more than 10 million registered but only 1,004 centres. A strikingly high number of — almost 5.56 million ones — need to get new certificates every quarter as they meet only BS-III emission standards or even less. BS-IV vehicles, on the other hand, need to get conducted annually. While has asked for more time to institute checking facilities in fuel stations, the growing public debate on Delhi air post Diwali is expected to see the EPCA refuse any extension, a senior Environment Ministry official told Business Standard. Also, out of 13.7 lakh emission data analysed for Delhi, nearly 20 per cent of tests have recorded zero values, showed a survey on centres across Delhi-NCR conducted by the EPCA. After the banned the sale of firecrackers in Capital Region (NCR) a week before Diwali, the consensus in the government is that basic levels have significantly come down. However, there seems to be a difference in opinion over the rate of fall in and whether a tougher ban should be suggested to the for next year, the official mentioned above told Business Standard. Recently, the Environment Ministry had called for a press conference on the issue but cancelled it without proper cause.

Senior sources mentioned this was because of inconclusive data from ministry bodies about the extent of fall in The incidence of harmful airborne substances mapped by the air index the morning after Diwali stopped at 340 this year as compared to 445 it had touched back in 2016. Interestingly the EPCA has said this year that there is no need of imposing 'emergency' level measures, which became effective when the is categorised as extreme, however, there are more challenges. Recently, the Ministry had been rapped by the for not finalising emission standards for industries using pet coke and furnace oil in the capital region and slapped a cost of Rs 2 lakh on it. The SC has now asked why the standards were not finalised despite its earlier direction that it should be done on or before June 30 this year. Apart from vehicular and crackers, the vast majority of in the NCR region is due to burning of crops in neighbouring states of Haryana, Punjab and to a smaller degree Uttar Pradesh. Every year in October, before the onset of winter, millions of tones of agricultural stubble is burnt by the farmers in northern India. The condition of Delhi's air has worsened after the crops are being burned during the harvest season. It is estimated that around 35 million tonnes of stubble is burnt in Punjab and Haryana alone.

First Published: Fri, October 27 2017. 13:36 IST