Govt acts to cut wait time at PUC centres
Want to give relief, but road safety key: Gahlot
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.
Among the top 10 centres witnessing a heavy load, eight have carried out more than 2,000 checks a day