No machines to test vehicles, officials rely on experience
New Delhi: They are Delhi’s foot soldiers in the battle against pollution but have to venture into the battlefield without ‘weapons’.
The enforcement wing of Delhi government’s transport department is tasked with checking and prosecuting polluting vehicles in the capital, which has more than one crore registered vehicles. However, the wing has a strength of just 182 personnel and only 80 officials have the authority to prosecute vehicles.
Till date, the department has prosecuted 1,872 vehicles for being ‘visibly polluting’, as the department doesn’t have a single pollution testing machine to properly deduce if a vehicle is polluting or not. The enforcement officials depend on their eyes and experience to prosecute vehicles that they believe are polluting.
“We stand on the roadside and keep a watch on vehicles emitting excessive smoke. These vehicles are then stopped and prosecuted,” said an enforcement official. “As per the rules, the registration certificate and permit of a polluting vehicle can be cancelled but since we depend on visual detection, no such action is taken and only a challan is issued,” he said.
The department has 30 pollution level inspectors but all of them are deputed at Regional Transport Offices of the department, where they help in making driving licenses, the official claimed.
The 182 personnel on the department’s rolls are divided into about 50 different teams, with three to five personnel each. “Most of these personnel have no prosecution powers and the only work they help with is stopping vehicles,” he said. The sanctioned strength for the enforcement wing is of 810 personnel, with a propor tionate number of officials with powers to prosecute but the vacancies have not been filled for years.
“The enforcement branch is reeling under a severe manpower shortage,” said KK Dahiya, special commissioner (transport). “More personnel will be hired considering the additional requirements to comply with directions of Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP),” he said. “More mobile (pollution checking) machines will also be procured,” he said.
Apart from manpower, the department also suffers from lack of mobility. “We have just 30 vehicles, which are now more than seven years old. If all our teams are put on the field at the same time, half the teams have to do their work on foot and travel by public transport,” he said
Overloading Not carrying PUCC* Visually polluting vehicles Unauthorised diesel buses