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SC seeks Centre, Delhi transport dept replies on use of remote sensing tech to check pollution


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Supreme Court Monday asked the central government and the Delhi transport department to respond to the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) report on the use of remote sensing technology to help identify polluting vehicles.
EPCA, in its recent report filed in the apex court, has said that as per the court's direction it had convened a meeting on July 16 with all concerned agencies, including the Minitry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) and Delhi transport department, to identify the key steps needed for implementation of remote sensing for on-road emissions monitoring.
Senior advocate Aparajita Singh, who is assisting the top court as an amicus curiae in the pollution matter, had earlier told the top court that remote sensing technology would help in checking emission of particulate matter (PM) and other hazardous substances like nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur oxides (SOx) from vehicles.
She had said that this technology was used successfully in Kolkata and an agency, which was asked by the apex court to check its modalities, has scanned about 1.76 lakh vehicles and found the technology to be useful.
During the hearing on Monday, the amicus told a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta that EPCA has filed a report on the issue and the court should ask the MoRTH and transport department of Delhi to respond to it.
The report said MoRTH needs to frame rules under the Central Motor Vehicle Act and define the scope and use of remote sensing programme for monitoring and enforcement of on-road emissions.
"This needs to state how this would co-exist with the ongoing pollution under control certificate (PUC) programme for physical checking of emissions. Both the programmes have different objectives and scope but they are complimentary and this needs to be clarified," the report said.
It said that rules to be defined by the MoRTH will make it clear that remote sensing can be used to identify vehicles which in all probability have either a defective emissions control system or one that has been tampered with.
"The big advantage of remote sensing is that it can be carried out in a non-intrusive fashion, and without vehicles having to report physically to centralized test center or PUC stations. The same remote sensing setup can be used to measure emissions from different vehicle types and evaluate hundreds to thousands of vehicles each day," EPCA has said.
The report said that transport department of Delhi will be responsible for implementation of the programme in the city and once successful, transport departments of national capital region (NCR) districts can be directed to implement the same.
It said that transport department of Delhi can issue global tender for procurement of remote sensing equipment and its operations.
The report said that MoRTH can be asked to frame rules within three months for use of remote sensing for PUC, including penalties, so that enforcement is possible.
The issue of remote sensing technology has cropped up before the court when it was hearing a matter relating to air pollution in Delhi-National Capital Region.

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First Published: Jul 29 2019 | 8:45 PM IST

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