HYDERABAD: The Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificates issued across over 150 mobile testing-centres to check pollution level of 30 lakh vehicles in the city are bogus, admits Telangana State Road Transport Authority.
The readings generated by the test centres are unreliable and the technology in use needs major upgrades, said officials. Furthermore, by paying a few more bucks, the test centres facilitate falsification of PUC certificates too. “The readings for the same vehicle are found to be different at different test centres,” says Vijay Kumar (name changed), a 27-year-old who has been manning the RTA approved mobile PUC testing centre on the Tank Bunk road.
“The software was installed in the testing computer in 2008, there has been no updates since. Also there are two software in use and both give different readings for the same diesel vehicle,” said Kumar. There are over 150 of these testing centres scattered across the city.
One can obtain a three year licence from a pollution testing centre for just `1,000. A test centre within city limits on an average gets 15 customers daily. The centres are supposed to be tested every six months but are tested only once a year, said officials.
Kumar charges anywhere between `50 to `80 for a single certificate. “Traffic police only checks if you have a valid certificate. They don’t check the pollution level,” said Kumar.
‘Proper procedure not being followed’
“The difference in pollution readings are mainly because proper procedure is not being followed,” said Pandu Ranga Naik, joint transport commissioner, Hyderabad. The vehicle has to be tested while in idle state, then another reading has to be taken by raising the accelerator. However, this is not being done at test centres, he added.
No headway in real-time pollution testing
RTA had formed a committee earlier this year to integrate test centre results of vehicles with RTA website on a real time basis. The same committee was also tasked with coming up with solutions aimed at updating technology used for vehicle pollution testing.
However, the committee has not been able to come up with tangible technology solution citing monopoly of dealers. “Only one or two companies came up with tenders for technology so we have decided to wait,” said a senior official with Telangana State Pollution control Board.
How a PUC certificate can be obtained
In addition to this, there are ways in which a clean PUC certificate can be obtained, says an operator at a mobile test centre at Khairatabad. To issue the certificate, the test centre takes photograph of the vehicle’s number plate. On the other hand, many of them are equipped with ready-made certificates which can have photograph of the user’s number plate affixed. “Mostly trucks and mini vans do this as the owner doesn’t want to take the vehicle for service citing cost reasons,” said the youth managing the test centre