April 01, 2017
Bharat Stage as we all know, started way back in the year 2000 with the sole purpose to reduce air pollution. Manufacturers, dealers and even customers are at chaos due to the sudden announcement. Most of them fail to understand the exact outcome of Supreme courts deadline. Manufacturers are giving huge discounts to lure customers and the common man is getting attracted to buy a vehicle, that, only a few days ago, was not in his mind. Hundreds of people queuing up in showrooms and dealer warehouses shows the willingness of our public to cash in on the rare opportunity. Insurance companies and dealers are in total confusion as to how to handle such a situation. In all this, we tend to forget the main reason for such a step-air pollution control.We forget to understand that we as citizens of our country, are equally responsible to our environment.
Having said this, let's come back to the culprits of air pollution and the evils behind this situation in the city of joy-Kolkata. Government run buses(old ones), private buses, and taxis(old Ambassador) are the main contributors to air pollution in this beautiful city. Starting your day with a smile will be turned into a nightmare if you tend to be on a two-wheeler and frustration will creep in(with their style of driving), if you are in a four wheeler. The density of pollution that you will witness, while on your way to work will make you curse your stars. If you go on the roads, you will see how these taxis are openly polluting our environment, without any fear whatsoever. Same goes for those buses, leave aside their driving style.
All of these made me wonder as to how come do they get that pollution certificate? While I took my bike at the pollution testing centre one day, the curiosity made me to ask the representative about his views on the same. His answer did not surprise me. He was very calm and normal in his voice. He simply told me that if he will not do it, someone else will do it. These taxis or buses simply tune their engines to meet the emission requirement for that particular period and when they get the certificate, they restore the tuning to it's normal level. Here comes the corruption in air pollution. These vehicles roam all over the city without any fear because they have that certificate. Cops also won't be able to do anything because the certificates are genuine. This makes me come back to the level of corruption in our system.
At one hand, system is putting so much pressure on the auto industry, while on the other, these vehicles are plying as usual and polluting the environment on a daily basis. It makes me think, as to how, a simple certificate can make the system blind to the level of pollution that these vehicles do on the roads. Irony of the whole story is, if you have a certificate, you are a non-polluting vehicle, whereas, even if you have just been manufactured and are behind a certain level(as per the system), you are a polluting vehicle.
Stories by Nishant Singh