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More auto-emission test centres to come up in and around Kolkata, Howrah

Recent air pollution source apportionment study by NEERI has found roadside dust and vehicular emission form major pollution load in the city

Kinsuk Basu | Published 25.04.23, 06:54 AM
An auto-emission testing centre in the city

An auto-emission testing centre in the city

Senior officials of regional transport offices in the state have been asked to “map” their respective zones and find out whether there are enough centres to carry out the mandatory pollution check on vehicles.

During a meeting on Monday to review the shortcomings in infrastructure, officials were told to submit a report on areas that do not have an adequate number of pollution testing centres so the state government can immediately float tenders for setting them up.

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“We want to set up more centres for pollution checks for the benefit of motorists so they don’t have to look around for a centre to take the mandatory test while driving through a particular area,” said a senior official in the transport department.

“The government is keen on opening new centres as early as possible based on the feedback from officials in the regional transport offices.”

A recent air pollution source apportionment study by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) has found that roadside dust and vehicular emission form the major pollution load in Kolkata.

Diesel-powered vehicles, most of which are in commercial use and ill-maintained, are the principal contributor to Kolkata’s vehicular emission, the report said.

With just a little over 120 pollution testing centres spread across Kolkata and Howrah, the transport department has realised that a section of motorists is skipping the mandatory test.

A significant number of vehicle owners are allegedly procuring fudged pollution-under-control certificates, which could invite fines if checked by police or the staff in testing vans run by the transport department.

Senior officials said expanding the network of testing centres will help motorists develop a habit of undertaking the test at their convenience.

“Several zones in Kolkata’s south, Salt Lake and Howrah don’t have enough pollution testing centres. Once these areas are clearly mapped, the exact number of centres that are required to be set up will emerge,” the official said.

The state government is in the process of procuring software that all authorised testing centres will have to use, senior officials in the transport department said.

“A trial will be carried out at two such testing centres to check how the software is functioning before it is made mandatory for all authorised centres,” an official said. “Before that, we want to expand the network of pollution testing centres.”

Once the software is installed across all authorised testing centres, a vehicle owner can book a slot for the pollution test at a centre of his or her choice after paying the fee online.

The test results will be immediately uploaded on the central data bank through an automated data uploading mechanism.

Following a revision of traffic violation fines in January last year, a person failing to produce a valid pollution-under-control certificate has to pay a fine of Rs 10,000.

Besides, the driving licence of the owner will be confiscated for three months. If the owner does not have a driving licence, the licence of the person who has driven the vehicle to the testing centre will be seized.

Last updated on 25.04.23, 06:54 AM
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