Govt acts to cut wait time at PUC cen­tres

Want to give relief, but road safety key: Gahlot

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - TIMES NEWS NET­WORK TIMES NEWS NET­WORK Som­reet.Bhat­tacharya @times­group.com

RUSH HOUR: New Delhi: Delhi govern­ment on Wed­nes­day an­nounced a host of mea­sures to bring relief to thou­sands of mo­torists who have to wait 4-5 hours in ser­pen­tine queues to get a pol­lu­tion un­der con­trol (PUC) cer­tifi­cate for their ve­hi­cles.

With the penalty for not car­ry­ing a valid PUC cer­tifi­cate in­creas­ing 10-fold af­ter the amended Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles Act came into ef­fect on Septem­ber 1, the PUC cen­tres across the city have been wit­ness­ing a tremen­dous rush. Their server has been crash­ing fre­quently due to the rush, lead­ing to de­lays in is­su­ing cer­tifi­cates.

“Be­fore Septem­ber 1, 15,000 PUC cer­tifi­cates were is­sued daily on aver­age . The num­ber has now crossed 45,000,” trans­port min­is­ter Kailash Gahlot said on Wed­nes­day. The min­is­ter said that while the num­ber of regis­tered ve­hi­cles is 1.1 crore, af­ter ex­clud­ing 15-year-old petrol ve­hi­cles and10-year-old diesel ve­hi­cles, the ac­tual num­ber on road is 73 lakh. There are 941 func­tional PUC cen­tres. Since the num­ber of mo­torists seeking PUC cer­tifi­cates is un­usu­ally high, the cen­tres are wit­ness­ing a huge rush.

At some cen­tres, the num­ber of ve­hi­cles be­ing checked daily has crossed 2,000. Gan­pati Fill­ing Sta­tion in Man­golpuri In­dus­trial Area car­ried out 2,731 checks in a day, the high­est in the city. Among the top 10 cen­tres wit­ness­ing a heavy load, eight have car­ried out more than 2,000 checks a day. The aver­age at these cen­tres is 2,220.

Gahlot said that work­ing hours at the 941cen­tres have been in­creased and they will now re­main open from 7am to 10pm. The server ca­pac­ity was also in­creased from 1pm on Wed­nes­day. “The server ca­pac­ity has gone up from 3,200 ap­pli­ca­tions per hour to 6,000. The sys­tem will sta­bilise by this evening,” he added.

Delhi govern­ment has also de­cided to open more pol­lu­tion check­ing cen­tres and ap­pli­ca­tions for them have been in­vited. An ad­ver­tise­ment will be floated on Thurs­day. Pri­vate par­ties au­tho­rised by the govern­ment run the PUC cen­tres.

The PUC cen­tres in­side 42 ter­mi­nals and de­pots of Delhi Trans­port Cor­po­ra­tion will also be opened for pri­vate ve­hi­cles. Gahlot said that civil de­fence vol­un­teers will be de­ployed for crowd man­age­ment and to avert law and or­der is­sues at 10 PUC cen­tres that wit­ness ex­treme rush. “We also re­ceived com­plaints of mal­prac­tices at the cen­tres and ser­vices of two of them have been sus­pended. We will take strict ac­tion against vi­o­la­tors,” the min­is­ter added. New Delhi: State trans­port min­is­ter Kailash Gahlot on Wed­nes­day said that Delhi govern­ment wants to pro­vide relief to peo­ple, but road safety is also a prime concern for the govern­ment.

Gahlot said a de­ci­sion on re­duc­tion of some penal­ties pre­scribed in the amended Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles Act will be taken af­ter keep­ing in mind all as­pects and af­ter proper con­sul­ta­tion with the stake­hold­ers.

“Though state gov­ern­ments have cer­tain dis­cre­tionary pow­ers to ease penal­ties with re­spect to cer­tain of­fences un­der the new MV Act, as of now Delhi govern­ment is not mulling their di­lu­tion since the strin­gent mea­sures are meant to en­sure road safety. Road safety is a ma­jor concern in the cap­i­tal and our govern­ment is very se­ri­ous about it,” he said.

Gahlot claimed that the govern­ment was closely ob­serv­ing the ini­tia­tives by other states as well as con­sult­ing with var­i­ous stake­hold­ers. “At any stage, if Delhi govern­ment is con­vinced at re­duc­ing the penal­ties for cer­tain of­fences, we shall do the need­ful,” he added.

Ad­dress­ing a presser on Wed­nes­day, Gahlot said the amended Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles Act has pre­scribed penal­ties for 61 of­fences, and of these, the govern­ment doesn’t have any dis­cre­tion in 27 of­fences. He said Delhi govern­ment has the dis­cre­tion of keep­ing the penalty 100% as pre­scribed in the Act or re­duce it in the case of 34 com­pound­able of­fences.

“We are con­sult­ing the pub­lic and hold­ing dis­cus­sions with Delhi Traf­fic Po­lice and of­fi­cials of the trans­port de­part­ment. We are get­ting feed­back from all stake­hold­ers,” he said. New Delhi: There has been a spate of chal­lans for speed­ing on the Delhi-Meerut Ex­press­way (NH-9) — up to UP Gate — de­spite the speed limit of 70kmph not be­ing vi­o­lated. If you are feel­ing ag­grieved, here’s the ex­pla­na­tion. The au­to­matic num­ber plate read­ing (ANPR) cam­eras in­stalled on this stretch are cal­i­brated to consider any speed above 50kmph — the pre­vail­ing speed limit across the city — as a vi­o­la­tion. It is up to the traf­fic per­son­nel sit­ting in the con­trol room to sift through the chal­lans and en­sure that a speed be­low 70 is not pe­nalised. They are ap­par­ently not do­ing a per­fect job.

Af­ter re­ceiv­ing many com­plaints in this re­gard, the traf­fic po­lice has now de­cided to waive all such chal­lans. “Peo­ple who have re­ceived no­tices for driv­ing at speeds be­low 70kmph on this ex­press­way need not pay the chal­lan,” spe­cial com­mis­sioner (traf­fic) Taj Has­san told TOI on Wed­nes­day. He said all such chal­lans will be re­moved from the pend­ing no­tices sec­tion.

Has­san said they had re­ceived a num­ber of com­plaints re­gard­ing this stretch. “We have taken it up with NHAI that has fixed the speed limit,” he said. How­ever, the right thing to do will be to get the cam­eras re­cal­i­brated rather than re­duce the speed limit on the ex­press­way to 50.

The po­lice have also con­firmed that they will not is­sue a chal­lan up to 55 kmph on the city roads, pro­vid­ing a relief of 5km. This es­sen­tially means that though the cam­eras will record any­thing above 50kmph as a vi­o­la­tion, the per­son is­su­ing the fi­nal chal­lan will be us­ing his dis­cre­tion. This is nec­es­sary be­cause you can­not main­tain a uni­form speed of 50kmph or less through­out and can un­wit­tingly ac­cel­er­ate with­out in­tend­ing to do so.

The as­sur­ance by the po­lice will give some relief to Su­jan Manna, who has been slapped with four no­tices for driv­ing on the ex­press­way at 66kmph and 60 kpmh. In fact, two no­tices carry the same date and time with dif­fer­ent no­tice num­bers, in­di­cat­ing hu­man er­ror. “I had a fifth no­tice that showed my speed to be 74kmph, so I paid up,” he said. Alok Sharma and Neeraj, who use the stretch daily, too had a sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence with no­tices is­sued against their reg­is­tra­tion num­ber on Au­gust 21 and Au­gust 23. The cam­eras fixed on Niza­mud­din Bridge near Sarai Kale Khan that cap­tured the ve­hi­cles of Manna, Neeraj and Sharma have a board right be­low men­tion­ing the speed limit as 70kmph.

Mean­while, Vinod Ku­mar, an ex­ec­u­tive with a pri­vate com­pany in Gur­gaon, was booked for jump­ing a traf­fic sig­nal near RK Pu­ram on June 7. He drives a car, but when he checked the image on the web­site, it was that of a scooter with a sim­i­lar reg­is­tra­tion num­ber. Ku­mar was not any­where near R K Pu­ram that day.

Com­muters are also trou­bled by the vary­ing speed limits across the city. For ex­am­ple, ITO to Delhi Gate is 60 kmph with 50kmph on ei­ther side. No one has a con­vinc­ing ex­pla­na­tion. The most bizarre, of course, is the NGT-man­dated 30kmph speed limit on Outer Ring Road at Panchsheel Park. These need to be ra­tio­nalised for the new penalty regime to work smoothly.

Anindya Chat­topad­hyay

Among the top 10 cen­tres wit­ness­ing a heavy load, eight have car­ried out more than 2,000 checks a day

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