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Drive against vehicular pollution from today

By Sujay Mehdudia

NEW DELHI DEC. 31. Even as indisciplined Blueline buses, unscrupulous autorickshaw drivers and reckless commercial vehicles continue to operate with impunity on Delhi's roads, the Delhi Government is launching another of its "regular'' drives from New Year's Day to check pollution levels of private and commercial vehicles.

"The weeklong drive will target commercial and private vehicles. Special squads have been formed that would be deployed on Delhi roads during the next one week to check vehicles for pollution-related violations. These squads would check the pollution under control certificates of the vehicles and if anybody is found violating the law, he would be taken to task. The first offence will invite a challan of Rs. 1,000, and for the second offence the penalty increases to Rs. 2,000. All the vehicle owners have been advised to get their vehicles checked for any pollution-related violations,'' the Delhi Transport Minister, Haroon Yusuf warned on Wednesday.

However, many Delhiites strongly feel that such drives have failed to yield anything substantial in the past and things look no different this time as well. In fact, people generally no longer take such drives seriously. Along with the drive against pollution, they advocate a drive also against adulterated fuel, rogue autorickshaw drivers and indisciplined private buses.

Of late, it has come to the notice of the Government that a large number of three-wheelers operating in the Capital have switched to other less environment friendly fuels, contributing to the increase in pollution levels. In some instances, it has been found that even public transport buses, supposed to run only on CNG fuel, are operating on other alternatives due to lack of enforcement on the part of the Transport Department. Interestingly, the traffic police have totally washed their hands off from checking polluting vehicles. Similarly, autorickshaw drivers too continue with the errant ways and their exploitation of the commuters continues unabated despite tall claims of the Government to have disciplined them.

"As far as autorickshaws and private public transport buses are concerned, the Government seems to have thrown its hands up. The authority of the Government has been defied time and again with the authorities watching as mute spectators,'' a senior officer remarked. There have also been suggestions to increase the penalty for violation of traffic rules, and making such offence non-bailable. "A serious initiative needs to be taken by the Delhi Government to put an end to this chaos on the roads otherwise innocent people will continue to be mowed down by rash and negligent drivers,'' one expert remarked.

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