GUWAHATI, Oct 1 - With increased penalty provisions in the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act forcing the vehicle owners to dash to the pollution testing centres like never before, the ground reality vis-�-vis the existing infrastructure finds the enforcement agencies guilty of jumping the gun.
While the enforcers of the MV Act has gone on a penalty-imposing spree ever since the amended Act was notified, putting the vehicle owners not in possession of a valid �pollution under control certificate� at the receiving end, government records, however, show that of the 41 pollution testing centres in Guwahati, only nine are actually valid.
The inefficacy is even more evident in the State-wide figure. Of the total number of pollution testing centres in the State, less than 40 per cent are said to be valid, virtually asking the vehicle owners to seek the impossible.
In Guwahati, around 11 lakh vehicles ply on the roads of which majority are two-wheelers.
Amid all these, there are allegations that in view of the unprecedented rush, many of these centres are issuing certificates without even conducting the test on the vehicles. What�s worse, several of the pollution testing centres have not even renewed their licences to operate the units.
�Ideally, the government should have assessed its own infrastructure before notifying the Act. It is unfair to impose fine from the vehicle owners when the government does not have the infrastructure to back it up. A city where nearly 11 lakh vehicles ply, it is juvenile to even imagine that some 40-odd pollution centres would suffice,� Alakesh Pathak, a resident of Guwahati�s Sreenagar area, rued.
�Under such circumstances, it is virtually impossible for the vehicle owners to secure the certificate from the pollution testing centre despite them wanting to do so,� Pathak said.
�At least a three-month time frame should be given to the people if the idea really is to get things in order. Such arbitrary enforcement has caught vehicle owners off-guard, especially on the lower and middle class taxpayers,� opined Miku Sarma, a resident of Rajgarh area of Guwahati.
�We also felt that the government machinery should have invested more time and effort in making the people aware of the provisions of penalty that the new law entails,� she said.
Vehicle owners are of the opinion that the State transport department must ensure that number of pollution testing centres are increased to at least 200 in the first phase to cater to the rising number of vehicles in Guwahati.
Bapan Kalita, District Transport Officer (Enforcement) while talking to The Assam Tribune said that the pollution testing centres are run by private owners. �Until the new Act came into force, these centres hardly had any work and most of them have not even renewed their licences to operate the units,� he added.