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How effective are the pollution under control vans on the streets of Pune, dna finds out

Monday, 16 June 2014 - 1:00pm IST | Place: Pune | Agency: dna

Is the pollution under control? Every year, the number of vehicles multiply, polluting the air we breathe. At such times, a regular check on vehicular emission becomes important. RTO has stationed several Pollution Under Control kiosks for the same. But how honest are these vendors? dna moves around in the city to run a check-up at some of the mobile kiosks to find out exactly how effective the procedure is
  • Shashank Sane dna

At Balgandharva Rangamandir Chowk, JM Road

We went to a PUC van at the Balgandharva Rangmandir Chowk and found it to be parked in a non-obstructive fashion. The attendant immediately asked us what we needed. However, he did not ask for any documentation to find out about the age or registration of the two-wheeler that we had with us. He tested the smoke and then asked us to accelerate the vehicle. He noted the figures on the PUC certificate. On asking what those figures meant, he explained that the carbon monoxide and other hydrocarbons are being checked for pollution levels and that they are harmful for the environment and the limits were 4 parts per million and 1000 parts per million for CO and Hydrocarbons respectively. We were charged Rs. 35, and got a receipt for the payment.

Near Sarasbaug
We got our vehicle checked at a PUC van stationed at Parvati Mandir Road. The procedure took place with the help of a similar machine as seen at other places. The machine showed the reading of the amount of chemicals emitted by the our vehicle. The readings were then written on the PUC certificate. He also charged Rs30 and gave us all the information that we asked for. He also showed us a certificate stating that it was an RTO authorised van.

Near SM Joshi Bridge, Karve Road

The attendant at the PUC van near SM Joshi Bridge in the vicinity of Abasaheb Garware College on Karve Road checked for our vehicle’s registration number to find out how old it was. After testing, he wrote down the exact values on the machine on the certificate. We asked him questions and he responded by explaining us the meaning of every reading. We were charged Rs30. However, the receipt said Rs35 as displayed on the rate card.

Inside Sahakarnagar
To our surprise, when we visited the Shakaharnagar area for a PUC check, we found the van shut. There was no notice written on the van about the reason of being non-operational. We waited there for an hour and then finally decided to leave. We visited the same place after an hour only to return back again .We tried to locate a phone number or any communication on the van, but there was no information.

Sinhagad Road, opposite Raja Ram Bridge
As we stopped to get our PUC certificate at this place, the man sitting near the vehicle came with a pipe and attached it to the exhaust even before we asked for it. He did not ask for an identity proof or any other documentation of the vehicle. After connecting the pipe, he asked us to start the bike. He then went near the computer to note down the readings. Then we inquired from if he could make another PUC certificate for a vehicle without actually checking it and he agreed. Altough we did not proceed with the request to make a PUC for the fictitious vehicle number that read MH 07 (not a pune registered vehicle) we did make sure to ask him for his authorisation certificate and about the norms of getting a PUC certificate. He showed us his authorisation certificate and told us everything about the rules and regulations involved. Despite having knowledge of everything about PUC, ready to make a certificate without checking the vehicle.

Some surprising observations

1. The same vehicle recorded 1.2 Carbon monoxide % and 1100 ppm of HydroCarbons at Balgandharva while 0.8% and 810 ppm outside Sarasbaug.

2. Although PUC attendants at Balgandharva Chowk, Sarasbaug and S M Joshi Bridge refused to give certificates for a vehicle that was not tested at their van, even after we insisted, The attendant at P.U.C checking van parked on Sinhagad Road made one instantly and required no persuading.

3. All attended had an Id card that stated that they have been authorized by the Regional Transport Office to check vehicular emissions.

4. The rate card at Balgandharva Chowk read Rs. 35 while all other PUC vans had rate cards that read Rs. 30 for 2 wheelers. Strangely enough the attendant at Balgandharva Chowk also rubber stamped the certificate that read Rs. 35 while at SM Joshi bridge we were charged 30 while the receipt read Rs. 35.

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