Can't stop registration of new vehicles, Transport dept says of KSPCB order

'Banning autos in CBD not feasible either; two-stroke vehicles plying illegally'

Can't stop registration of new vehicles, Transport dept says of KSPCB order

The Department of Transport and Road Safety has described as “illogical” the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board’s (KSPCB) order that it should stop registration of new vehicles in Bangalore until pollution levels are controlled. 

The KSPCB had told the High Court on Tuesday that it had ordered the department to restrict registration of new vehicles in Bangalore until noise levels and air quality standards were met. It also directed the department to ban auto-rickshaws in the Central Business District (CBD) in a phased manner, forbid the use of two-stroke vehicles within the BBMP area and the entry of heavy motor vehicles (HMVs) within outer ring road and disallow HMVs 15 years old and above. 

The High Court, which is hearing a suo motu Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on the increase in ambient noise and air quality levels in Bangalore, had admonished the KSPCB for failing to discharge its duties. It had even asked the government why the KSPCB should not be superseded. 

After the court’s strong criticism, the KSPCB, exercising the powers under the Karnataka Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Rules, 1983, issued directions to the transport department, the Bangalore traffic police and the BBMP on August 25, to implement a set of measures to check air and noise pollution. 

But transport officials, who held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the 13-point order issued by the KSPCB, stressed that there was no point in refusing to register new vehicles in Bangalore as people would get vehicles registered in other parts of Karnataka or other states and can ply them in the City. The department received the KSPCB order on Tuesday. 

Emission testing centres

Commissioner for Transport and Road Safety, Dr Ramegowda, has sought report in three days from all Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) on the status of functionality of 291 emission testing centres in the City. 

The KSPCB’s order on banning auto-rickshaws in the CBD is not plausible either given the fact that the CBD is the core area visited by thousands of people every day for work and leisure, transport officials said. 

Without auto-rickshaws—considered to be the City’s lifeline—and in the absence of an alternative public transport system such as the Metro train and BMTC buses which can provide seamless connectivity, it will be very difficult for people to commute, a transport official said. 

On banning two-stroke auto-rickshaws, the official said that those vehicles were to be phased out as per a government order passed in 2013 and were plying illegally. Nearly 20,000 such auto-rickshaws are estimated to be plying in the City. 

In fact, the transport department launched a drive under the jurisdiction of RTO (Bangalore-West), checking 600 outstation vehicles and booking 160 of them for non-payment of lifetime tax. The drive netted about Rs 1.5 crore. Besides, vehicles with shrill horns, defective number plates and cars with sun films were checked and suitable action taken as per the rules. 

Such drives, the official went on, will continue in the coming days to enforce traffic and Motor Vehicles rules. Even KSRTC and BMTC buses are being checked for noise and air pollution. 

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