A long way to go for pollution control in Prakasam

Periodic examination of vehicles belonging to APSRTC, government departments and individuals will help scrap the vehicles that fail to meet the standards

Updated - October 21, 2022 01:32 pm IST

Published - October 21, 2022 09:07 am IST - ONGOLE

Vehicles seized in various cases left to rot at a police station in Vijayawada..

Vehicles seized in various cases left to rot at a police station in Vijayawada.. | Photo Credit: K.V.S. Giri

Laws mandates that commercial vehicles older than 15 years and passenger vehicles of more than 20 years need to be mandatorily scrapped if they do not pass the fitness and emission tests. The government departments need to do away with their vehicles after 15 years.

However, old and unfit vehicles continue to ply on the roads in Prakasam district, putting the lives of the people in danger.

The Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC), which has a large fleet of buses, continues to run outdated vehicles. Even as the laws mandate that buses which have plied a distance of 12.5 lakh kilometers should be withdrawn, they are still plying for various reasons, say the sources in the APSRTC employees’ union.

Many buses, especially the ‘Palle Velugu’ services, continue to ply beyond their prescribed life expectancy. According to an estimate, more than 1,000 buses need to be replaced with new ones in Prakasam district.

Despite the periodic inspections conducted by the Road Transport Authority (RTA), private bus operators, in their attempt to reduce the operational cost, managing with old vehicles by repairing them.

“There is a need for a uniform scrappage policy to curb pollution as different States have different set of rules ”G. Narasimha RaoPoura Samajam president

“There is a long way to go for the switchover to non-polluting electric vehicles. Even the APSRTC lacks the necessary support from the government for the purpose,” says R. Ayyappa, a leader of CITU-led staff and workers’ union.

There is need for a periodic examination of vehicles belonging to the government departments and the outdated vehicles should be scrapped, opined Confederation of Andhra Pradesh Consumers’ Organisation State president M. Nageswara Rao.

A visit to the Prakasam Bhavan, the seat of district administration, presents a view of vehicles lying unused and gathering dust. Such vehicles are being targeted by anti-social elements for spare parts and carry out nefarious activities.

“The Andhra Pradesh government should take a cue from the Delhi government and allow private vehicles with odd and even registration numbers to ply in cities on alternate days to reduce pollution levels. An electronic system should be put in place to detect violation of rules on highways,” suggests Mr. Rao suggests, adding that the number of private vehicles on roads should be replaced with non-polluting buses.

Further, the old and unfit vehicles are at higher risk of being involved in accidents. The official indifference to implementation of the mandatory guidelines pertaining to road safety prescribed by the Indian Road Congress is responsible for the sorry state of affairs, opines Ongole Town Development Committee chairman M. Subba Rao.

“There is a need for a uniform country-wide scrappage policy to curb environment pollution before the situation goes out of hand as different States have different set of rules,” says G. Narasimha Rao, president of Poura Samajam, a civil society organisation.

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