Kerala Kaumudi Online
Thursday, 30 May 2024 11.52 AM IST

Failing vehicle pollution test; new normal in Kerala


Only a few other firms can surpass the genius of the government system in toppling a smoothly working department and then messing it up to a stage that is beyond redemption. As of now, all two-wheeler owners must undergo a smoke test every six months without fail.

Most bike riders comply with the rules and make sure that they have the pollution test taken every six months, so as to to not give away the fine of Rs 2000 to police officials waiting to ambush bike riders in nooks and corners of the city.

Most homes in Kerala will have at least one two-wheeler. It is an ergonomic way of transport and can easily provide solace amidst the labyrinthine traffic seen in the state. Unlike in the past, now half of the two-wheelers are driven by women. After the installation of AI cameras, reforms have been made in traffic fines, as Rs 500 is levied for not wearing a helmet while it is Rs 2000 for not having a smoke test certificate, which is considered a tad high.

Although the then Transport Minister had said that the amount was fixed by the Center and that it would be reduced soon; and were are still waiting for that bright day. On the other note, thousands of two-wheeler petrol vehicles are now unable to ply on the road after failing in pollution tests.

Vehicle owners cite the smoke test failures as technical errors. Despite bringing this matter to the attention of MVD, no serious steps were taken to alleviate the tensions. This has created a situation in Kerala where most car owners who have failed the pollution test are leaving behind their vehicles at home, to not invite the penalty from AI cameras.

People owning old vehicles are mostly the victims of failed pollution tests. Many pollution centres have made it a practice to take payment from the vehicle owners regardless of whether the vehicle fails the test. This has also led to a rise in altercations in such centres.

It was only after the central government's new amendment that things started going awry. The new method involves modifying the actual reading obtained at the testing centre using a special formula to determine the level of contamination. In the amendment, the Center pointed out that this should be implemented in BS6 vehicles and pre-2007 cars with catalytic converters.

But taking advantage of the opportunity, this was applied to all vehicles in Kerala. Avoiding this single step would solve the problem by a large. The minister and MVD should contemplate ways to avoid the current predicament affecting the common man. The bizarre pollution test format should see curtains soon.

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