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Smokescreen of foul play

Super Avenue Service Station, Shyambazar

At one of the centres covered in the Metro expos' on July 9, things were no better on July 14. The data indicated that the testing mechanism was at fault. 'It is clear that around 90 per cent of the results at this centre are wrong. The machine did not detect the vehicles' revolutions per minute (RPM) levels, yet the tests yielded positive results,' said a monitoring member.

The owner claims the problem lies with the manufacturer of the machine and alleges that his centre is no exception.

Surya Filling Station, Bagbazar

Here, the software seemed to be in order, but the staff knew little about what they were doing or the implications of the test fields. They just did not have the technical knowhow to conduct the pollution test.

'What's HSU (Hartridge Smoke Unit)' one was asked. 'High Speed Diesel,' fired the 'trained' testing hand. (HSU is the basic unit for auto emission; diesel-driven vehicles must not exceed 65 HSU).

The machine here was also not properly calibrated, despite having a certificate for it.

Auto Emission Testing Centre, Harish Chatterjee Street

Most of the results here appeared fudged. The machine was not calibrated and the company had not signed an annual maintenance contract.

On analysis of the test data, it was evident that even in the case of petrol vehicles like autorickshaws, the tailpipe probe was not inserted as far as it should be. As a result, even polluting vehicles have passed with flying colours.

Council Service Station, Diamond Harbour Road

Since the testing centre fraud hit the headlines, the centre has struggled to come clean. In June, the station had tested 508 diesel vehicles and failed only one (as reported in Metro, July 13). This week, it has tested 14 vehicles and rejected six. Also, in what appears to be a manufacturing flaw, the reading for petrol vehicles is not complete, reporting only two of the four required pollutant fields.

Sen Service Station, Salkia

The diesel testing service has been closed since its flawed certification was reported on July 9. 'No diesel cars have been tested for emission after May 19,' claimed Tushar Sen, owner. But the polluting Tata Sumo taken to the Howrah centre on July 7 had been tested and passed with a Grade A.

**

Hasty clearance of PUC centres within court deadlines, inadequate technical vetting and poor training of personnel have created an environment for corruption and callousness to rule.

That is what the monitoring committee, comprising officials from the PVD, pollution control board and the Auto Emission Testing Association, drove into on Thursday afternoon.

Most diesel vehicles granted clearance recorded emission figures of 0.42 HSU, 'almost impossible' for most in-use vehicles, according to the experts. Also, some polluting Bharat Stage II (BSII) petrol cars were being given PUC certificates as per non-BS II standards.

The probe team will now submit a report to PVD director H. Mohan, who had earlier told Metro 'stern action will be taken against offenders'.

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