A senior environmentalist of a top non-profit, which enjoys observer organization status with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and special consultative status with United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC), has strongly objected to Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkare imposing huge fines if vehicles move around without Pollution Control Certificate (PUC) , insisting, PUC actually should be abrogated.
In a letter to Gadkari, the environmentalist said, “We don’t think there is any need for PUC as all the vehicles are of stage IV or V. Moreover, till now none of the vehicles are found to have been rejected in PUC test, which suggests that it is a mere formality.”
Underlining that there is “no point in spending Rs 30-50 every six months after standing in long queues”, the top environmentalist, who is learnt to have direct access to the Prime Minister’s Office, which hears him on crucial climate change issues, said, “The fact is, emission is due to adulteration of petrol, on which government has to work for.”
Hence, he added, it is advisable for the government to “collect environmental cess and work towards stopping the menace of adulteration of petrol.”
Based in Ahmedabad, Mahesh Pandya of the Paryavaran Mitra, said, while he appreciated the new Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019 that was recently announced to improve road the behaviour of people and promote road safety, as “we know that this is a much needed action for the safety of the people”, but it should be “strategically implemented.”
The letter said, as per the new rules, those breaking traffic norms would have pay heavier fines and stricter penalties. But here it should be noted that even a single violation by an economically weaker section person can cost her or him to lose his one-fourth of the monthly salary.
This may result in financial suffering for him family. So while deciding penalty, the economically weaker section should be kept in mind, the environmentalist warned.
Emission is due to adulteration of petrol, on which government has to work for.It is advisable for the government to collect environmental cess and work towards stopping the menace
Suggesting reducing penalties, the letter said, while it is true that countries that have stringent rules have few accidents, what should be noted is that “these countries have penalties on speeding or rash driving, not on helmet, PUC, and insurance.”
Claimed to have been prepared after researching international norms on traffic violation, the letter added, “So we should penalize on primary violations like speeding or rash driving rather than for not secondary things like wearing helmet or PUC.”
Pointing out that the action taken on the offenders through CCTV surveillance is “not appropriate as in some cases where there is less traffic, police gives signal to go, but as it is captured in CCTV footage, e3-challan is issued”, the letter said, “We suggest that special courts should be started to hear violations of traffic rules.”
The letter further said, “Before implementing the new rules, the government should make sure that the zebra crossings are not allowed to fade and are painted from time to time. Also at signals, the lights should be properly located and maintained.”
Pandya has sent a copy of the letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, who is known to be close to BJP president Amit Shah, seeking his support.