Several areas in the city which were once deemed outskirts but are now integral parts of the city are still following age old pollution norms due to lack of foresight of planners. As pollution control board officials admit that vehicular emissions continue to be the major contributor to air pollution, they also agree a relook into the implementation of emission standards has become necessary. A few years ago, the city was one of the 14 cities nominated for implementation of Bharat Stage-IV(BS-IV) emissions norms for four wheelers. BS-IV was implemented in 14 major cities including Hyderabad, while the rest of the country adopted BS-III for 4-wheelers.
The emission standards were introduced as part of the Action Plan prepared by the Government of Andhra Pradesh in consultation with all the stake holder departments like Transport, Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board(APPCB), Civil Supplies, State Oil co-ordinator among others for lowering air pollution in the HUDA area. This comprised of areas like Uppal, Malkajgiri, Medchal, Saroornagar, Serilingam pally, Ibrahimpatnam, Shamshabad to name a few. But when it came to implementation of the upgraded vehicle emission norms to Bharat Stage IV as directed by the Central Pollution Control Board under the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 2010, things didn’t go as planned. The implementation part didn’t happen in the areas which were a part of RR district as well as HUDA as they were exempted.
Now even as these areas are a part of the city, the Uppal RTO still continues to register vehicles compatible with Bharat Stage-III, as it does not fall under the Hyderabad city limits. This is leading to a clear dilution of the very purpose of the implementation of the emission standards.
While Stage IV vehicles are registered in five RTOs in the city, in areas like Malkajgiri, Rajendranagar, Serilinga mpally, Shamshabad, Uppal, Saroornagar, Medchal, Ibrahimpatnam, Stage III vehicles are still being registered in clear disregard for the norms.
APPCB officials acknowledge the anomaly but say they can only recommend to the government and not taken any action on its own. “This is an ongoing issue. RTC buses which are the major contributors to pollution are all registered outside and ply within the city. We had requested government to issue a government order in this regard. We can only issue an advisory,” said a senior environmental scientist on conditions of anonymity.
Officials at the Hyderabad RTO point out that such an implementation of the standards would not help in any way. They said that in New Delhi, the BS-IV norms were extended to the whole of National Capital Region (NCR) and not just New Delhi.
A Joint Transport Commissioner, on condition of anonymity, said, “Government has to take a more practical approach towards pollution control. They can’t work in some imaginary limits set by a local body. At Khairatabad, only BS-IV vehicles can be registered but at Uppal RTO, which is not outside the city anymore, BS-III vehicles can be registered. This is really causing dilution of the whole policy.” Transport officials point out that most commercial vehicles are registered in the outskirts of the city but ply inside Hyderabad.