No ma­chines to test ve­hi­cles, of­fi­cials rely on ex­pe­ri­ence

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES CITY - Sidhartha.Roy@ times­group.com

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

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