Delhiites may be suffering from pollution but what’s surprising to note is that there are only 19 pollution inspectors doubling up as RTI, vigilance and Motor Vehicle (MV) inspectors to check the over 971 Pollution Under Control (PUC) test centres across the city which cater to over one crore registered vehicles. Officials say the Delhi government has not made any new recruitments for these posts in almost a decade.Despite the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government, strongly coming out against the recent pollution problems in the Capital, calling the city a “gas chamber” they also have not done much to fill these posts so far.Pollution inspectors are the need of the hour especially in Delhi where vehicular pollution counts for 20 per cent of the city’s toxic air. But so far in Delhi government’s transport department, out of the 38 sanctioned posts of Pollution Level Test Inspectors (PLTIs), only 19 have been filled. The number of filled posts has remained the same for years while the levels of pollution have risen alarmingly in the city.”These inspectors tasked with monitoring PUC fitness centres that are certified to check emission content of vehicles have been doubling up as officers in the RTI cell, vigilance and other administrative wings due to the overall staff crunch in the department. This has affected the monitoring of quality levels badly,” said a senior officer.Meanwhile, sources reveal that the transport department overall has 1,465 sanctioned posts of which only 494 are filled. This means that 940 posts are vacant. Besides, pollution inspectors, officials said, public services such as the issuance of driving licenses (DL) among others are getting affected as there are only 12 MV inspectors against the sanctioned 44 posts. MV inspectors get the driving tests done.However, only last month after the National Green Tribunal has asked the department to upload PUC reports annually on the website, the government has moved a file for fresh recruitments to the Lieutenant Governor.”The department has sent a proposal to fill these posts besides some others last year to the government. It has now been sent to the LG,” he said.The cadre of PLTIs was created in 1987. Till some years ago the number of sanctioned posts for them was 50, however, it was reduced later when a new post of pollution control officer (PCO) was created for these officers to be promoted to the next level.Besides, the officer said there is a scope for creation of posts for the new wings that have come up in the recent years such as IT, Road Safety and Victim Impact Report cells. The existing staff only doubles up for these wings as well affecting the overall working of the department.An audit report of the PUC centres and monitoring levels done by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) submitted in the Supreme Court earlier this year found that most of the pollution checking centres did not have upgraded technology or trained staff to get the correct readings.Besides, it also found that the rejection rate for vehicles is less, as PUC norms in the region are weak.
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