Pollution checking device lay idle for 3 years

Sabina Karki

December 4, 2019

7 MIN READ

Pollution checking device lay idle for 3 years
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KATHMANDU: Vehicles are regarded as the main polluters of Kathmandu valley. A study carried out by Nepal Health Research Council, a few years back, found vehicular emission the main contributor to the pollution in the valley. Among polluters, it holds a share of 38 percent.

Out of millions of the vehicles running in the streets all over the country hardly 50 get their pollution level checked.

The vehicle operations regulations hail that each owner should get his vehicle tested every six months. The Department of Transport Management says that provided the vehicles tested do not meet the standard, they are allowed in operation only after maintenance.

“We have tested the four-wheelers four times a year,” says Gogan Bahadur Hamal, the Director-General of the Department, “But most of the vehicles run in the street without emission test.”

Established to test the vehicle pollution caused by its machinery, the center is still unable to come into operation effectively. The equipment bought ‘just’ nine years before does not function well.

Vehicles and Transport Management Act, 1993 and Vehicles and Transport Management Regulations, 1998 mention the provision of establishing a center to regulate and update the test, pollution and the change of parts in the vehicles.

The same provision led to the establishment of Vehicle Fitness Test Center, in 2013 in Teku, Kathmandu. The center came to formal operation 2 years after its establishment.

Established to test the vehicle pollution caused by its machinery, the center is still unable to come into operation effectively. The equipment bought ‘just’ nine years before does not function well.

The center informed Khabarhub that the test of tempo, taxi, and microbus is conducted manually and using the equipment.

Ram Chandra Poudel, a senior division engineer at the Center, told us that the center has been working in the area like setting the requirements in an electric bus, night bus, etc.

As the center executes the test of the e-vehicles, the Department of Transport Management provides the certificate.

Although, in addition to public vehicles, private vehicles, the vehicles of the diplomatic mission, the government vehicles also pollute the environment, none of these except few public vehicles get their pollution tested.

Poudel, the senior official at the Center affirms that millions of vehicles run in the Bagmati zone alone, but citing the limited resources to execute the test he asks “Where are the test centers? They are never sufficient.”

As the Transport Management Department does not have the devices required for pollution test, Vehicle Fitness Center has been executing the tasks so far.

With the adoption of federalism as a system of governance, there should have been at such centers in each province; however, only 2 provinces have such centers.

If we just calculate from the record of the Transport Management Department, 80% of the vehicles registered in the Department are two-wheelers. Unfortunately, there is no equipment to test the two-wheelers.

Equipment lay idle for 3 years

As allocated in the budget in the fiscal year 2009/10, the department had managed to buy a few equipment in 2011. The equipment bought from a Chinese company named Zhuhai Tongli and arrived in Kathmandu before the test center came into operation remained unused for 6 years.

As they lay unused for a long time, now it is really hard to use them. Poudel informed Khabarhub that owing to the long gap in arrival and use and also due to the lack of formal contact with the company afterward, there are complications. He said that the company is out of contact now and the government also has not taken any initiation to trace the company and contact it officially.

“We have requested government many times, but are still unable to use that equipment,” he added.

Obviously this has, sometimes, led to the crowd of vehicles willing to get tested at the center.

It is said that the tasks are done there are recorded in the computer system, but the test display does not function well.

Informing about the activities at the center, Poudel further said, “Testing the force of the brakes, measuring the headlight intensity, suspension (sight slip), technical test, horn are five things done at the center.” “We work with hands as well,” he added.

Province government set to establish test center

As per the constitutional provisions, the responsibility to arrange for transport management in the province lies in the province itself. The federal government has been acting the caretaker unless the provinces stand on their own.

Butwal of Province no.5 and Hetauda of Province no. 3 have launched their service from their newly established test centers which make the total number of such test centers three only. Realizing the importance of such centers in all provinces, the provincial governments are now taking initiations to have the test centers of their own.

Traffic police launches campaign against polluters 

Expressing its concern towards the health hazards caused by vehicular emission, the Metropolitan Traffic Police, in coordination with the Department of Transportation has launched a campaign for the last few months.

According to the Metropolitan Traffic Police, the traffic police have started checking whether the emission test is regular or not.

“We have been checking to see if the vehicle owners have got their vehicles regularly checked or not.” Bhim Prasad Dhakal, Senior Superintendent of Police of Metropolitan Traffic Office said to Khabarhub. “Most of the vehicles which have not undergone the emission test discharge more smoke, we take action against such vehicles,” Dhakal added.

As the Transport Management Department does not have the devices required for pollution test, Vehicle Fitness Center has been executing the tasks so far.

“Everyday 35-40 vehicles are booked for pollution.” Dhakal offered the details and adding, “Each vehicle thus booked is fined 500-1500 rupees.”

Despite the Department’s attempt, the test is of not much use as the laws are not enforced effectively as even the vehicles with green stickers are still fogging the environment.

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