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West Bengal government plans to tighten emission test

Transport department officials hope the move would eliminate the malpractice, resorted to by a number of pollution testing centres and more

Kinsuk Basu | Published 02.02.23, 07:41 AM

The state government is planning to make it mandatory for auto emission testing centres to use a software that will ensure a pollution test is done only when the smoke meter is inserted deep into the vehicle’s exhaust pipe and not just an inch inside, officials said.

Transport department officials hope the move would eliminate the malpractice, resorted to by a number of pollution testing centres, of fudging emission results by using some pirated software or through improper use of the smoke meter.


A search is on for the right software, with transport minister Subhasis Chakraborty calling upon experts for their recommendations. Senior officials are in talks with representatives of a central institute that has developed such a software.

“We have had discussions with representatives of the institute that has developed a software that will prevent any tampering with the pollution results. There are a few issues that need to be addressed,” Chakraborty told The Telegraph.

“Once a final decision is taken, we will make it mandatory for all auto emission testing centres to use the software. Licences will not be renewed if found otherwise.”

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.

Transport department officials said they had been receiving reports for some time that vehicles with a valid pollution-under-control (PUC) certificate are failing the pollution test.

“We have observed the same during random checks on vehicles using our remote sensing device for pollution checks. Some of the vehicle owners were found to be carrying valid certificates,” said an official of the transport department.

The department has one remote sensing device that can check the auto-emission levels of a moving vehicle when it travels over a mat laid on a road.

Senior police officers said they came across multiple instances where readings mentioned in the PUC certificate of a vehicle vastly differed from the ones thrown up by machines during random tests.

“We realised that some of the testing centres were fudging test results. The owners of vehicles that flunk random tests despite having a valid certificate will be fined Rs 10,000 and asked to get their vehicles tested again,” a senior police officer said.

The PUC certificate is issued after carrying out a pollution test using a machine named 1-3 SYS, the owner of a testing centre in Kasba said. The emission values are measured after fitting a smoke meter in the vehicle’s exhaust pipe.

The values are uploaded on the website Vahan, of the Union road transport and highways ministry, along with the photograph of the vehicle, for generating the certificate.

A section of operators is known to be issuing PUC certificates without conducting emission tests. “Some of them are using pirated software by setting the emission value in advance,” the police officer said.

“I have learnt that if the smoke meter is not held deep inside a vehicle’s tail-pipe, the readings are bound to be erroneous,” minister Chakraborty said. “We want to stop this malpractice.”

Last updated on 02.02.23, 07:41 AM

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