The number of vehicles in Bangalore is hovering close to 50 lakh. As on January, as many as 49.67 lakh vehicles were registered in the city. The annual increase in vehicle density is between March 2012 to 2013 has been 10.46 percent, with the numbers jumping from 41.56 lakh to 45.91 lakh in that period.

While this boom translates to increased air pollution, the city lacks a mechanism to strictly monitor vehicular emission. Statistics provided by the transport department reveals that the numbers of vehicle owners penalised for violating emission norms is too low (see graphics).

A study funded by the Ministry of Forests and Environment in 2012, conducted by The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI), says that 42 per cent of the Bangalore’s air pollution is caused by vehicular emissions.

About 12.47 lakh vehicles have been checked in the city and 10,617 cases booked during 2013-2014 for not possessing emission test certificates or having outdated certificates. A total of 40.10 lakh fine was collected in Bangalore. However, an official of the regional transport office said that besides regular checks of vehicles for emission test, checks of certificates was done at the time of transfer of ownership of a vehicle and renewal of registrations.

The official also pointed out that checking of emission certificate for transport vehicles such as buses, taxis and lorries was regular but that of four-wheelers and two-wheelers in the city was difficult. An official of the transport department conceded that the motor vehicle inspectors who check emission test certificate are overburdened, in turn affecting checking of vehicles.

Transport Commissioner K. Amarnarayana said that the number of vehicles on road in the city was a huge there was severe shortage of motor vehicle inspectors. “The post of 270 motor vehicle inspectors has not been filled for the last five years. We need more manpower to tackle this issue,” he said.

Chairman of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, Vaman Acharya, said that the board had submitted a 14 point action plan to improve air quality in Bangalore City. He said that vehicle pooling and ensuring that proper emission tests are done could go a long way in reducing vehicular pollution.

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