state governments across the country have missed the October 1, 2004, deadline to implement the new in-use emission norms for vehicles, better known as the pollution under control (puc) certificate programme. The Delhi government has extended the deadline by one month and the West Bengal government by one-and-a-half months. The transport department of Tamil Nadu has sought an extension of two to three months from the state government. But it is feared that the new norms might not be implemented even by the extended dates because of laxity from all quarters -- the government, puc centres that conduct emission tests, the certification agency for puc instruments and puc instrument manufacturers.
A major reason behind the non-implementation of the new norms, notified in February 2004, was that city governments failed to prepare detailed, time-bound implementation plans. They also could not ensure that the puc s got the necessary testing instruments or that the manufacturers made these available to them. The certification process was also tardy.
The new norms necessitate measuring levels of carbon monoxide (co) and hydrocarbons (hc) in petrol vehicles, as opposed to the earlier measurement of only the co level. They are also tuned in to vehicular technology: the standards for post- and pre-Euro ii vehicles are different. For diesel vehicles, the tests methods have changed but norms haven't. The smoke meters, which check their emissions, require upgradation. "The crux of the current imbroglio is that the existing two gas analyser for petrol vehicles, which measures the pollutants, cannot measure the much lower levels prescribed for post-Euro ii vehicles," says an industry source.
Many transport departments believe that puc centres cannot be pressured to acquire new instruments; there aren't enough suppliers in the market. But instrument manufacturers disagree. They allege that puc centres are just using the extended deadline for not placing the orders. In Delhi, where the government is serious about implementing the norms, the puc operators have refused to place orders for instruments, citing high prices and the compulsory Annual Maintenance Contract of manufacturers as the reasons.
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