Higher fines for traffic violations has prompted motorists in Karnataka to queue up in emission testing centres (ETC) to ensure that their pollution under control (PUC) certificates are in order.
Statistics compiled by the Transport Department confirmed that in the first two weeks of September, more than 5 lakh motorists in the state obtained a PUC certificate from an emission testing centre (ETC).
This takes the number of PUC certificate holders in the state up from 2,35,246 to 7,77,717 between the end of August and the second week of September. "People have come forward in large numbers to obtain PUCs after the new fines were announced", confirmed Shivaraj Patil, Additional Commissioner of Transport (Enforcement and e-governance).
As per the new Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, failure to carry emission certificates attracts a fine of Rs 10,000. To avoid the fine, motorists in Bengaluru in particular have queued up in one of the 385 emission testing centres in the city to obtain their PUC certificates which need to be renewed every six months.
"Earlier, we used to get around 30-40 vehicles per day but now there are around 150 vehicles queuing up in our emission testing centres. Many of them have not conducted tests for years,” says Yogesh, President of Karnataka Emission Testing Owners Association. Yogesh operates Greencity Emission Testing Centre, which has nine branches in Bengaluru including its biggest one in KR Puram.
"We have decided to keep the centre at KR Puram open 24 hours a day due to the current demand. Most other testing centres operate from 8 am to 8 pm,” Yogesh says.
He further pointed out that for a city with over 80 lakh vehicles plying on its roads, there were just 385 ETCs conducting emission tests. "The number of people swarming ETCs in last two weeks has seen queues from morning till evening,” Yogesh added.
The testing centres conduct a test to check carbon monoxide (CO) concentrations in the exhaust of petrol vehicles at slow speeds and also measure the smoke from diesel vehicles while accelerating. A hydrocarbon test is also conducted on petrol vehicles.
The cost of conducting the tests is Rs 50 for a two-wheeler, Rs 60 for a three-wheeler, Rs 90 for a four-wheeler and Rs 125 for all types of diesel vehicles. Officials expect that the swarm of people showing up at ETCs will now reduce and hope that PUCs will be periodically updated every six months.