TODAY -

Used vehicles flooding into state inevitable
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: July 22, 2022 -



It’s obvious that in a state like Manipur where almost even the lower-middle class families own at-least one two-wheeler vehicle, those in the creamier layer have multiple high-end four-wheelers and many unemployed youths are earning decent income through sale of used vehicles, mainly bought/brought or stolen from other parts of the country, the centre’s vehicle scrap policy would definitely impact the state.

As in advanced countries where vehicle scrap policies are being enforced with the stated objective of checking the air pollution caused by fossil-fuelled vehicles, the government of India too perceived it wise to come up with the policy and with the firm resolve to implement the same under all circumstances.

To the sceptics, the policy smacks of helping the super-rich owners of vehicle manufacturing companies to rake in the profit and has nothing to do with saving the environment for its an undeniable fact that there exist numerous industries that emit toxic pollutants and have been in operation with the same machines for multiple decades.

Thus, it won’t be presumptuous to contend that apart from negligible positive effect of the policy the level of pollution would dip drastically, at-least until the government succeeds in providing alternative to the heavy dependence on conventional transport fuels and expedite production or generation of environment-friendly sources of energy.

Moreover, if at all the policy is actually intended to reverse the level of pollution then there is no reason why all the polluting units shouldn’t be shut down before the ordinary citizens are compelled to give up their drivable vehicles which were purchased after years of resilient saving.

As majority of the two-wheelers in the state were purchased with loans from either the public sector banks or private financial agencies and authorised vehicle dealers, it’s obvious that the vehicle scrap policy wouldn’t go down well with the commoners.

In Manipur’s context, judicious execution of the policy, which is learnt to be already implemented in Gujarat and the same process underway in neighbouring Assam, will depend on sincerity and diligence of the Transport Department.

Among other guidelines, one of the policy’s provisions stating that operation after the validity period could be extended for additional five years if the vehicles pass the fitness test and pay the green tax might entice the department officials to give the green signal in exchange for additional payment that wouldn’t be accounted for in the official record.

For instance, the Transport Department was mired in controversies and some officials suspended on the charge of issuing driving licence to minors and drivers of heavy commercial vehicles without the mandatory pre-licence test, providing registration documents for stolen vehicles and issuing licence to individuals who do not even own a vehicle.

Apart from such unethical practices there is strong suspicion that driving licences are being issued to non-locals for there were reports about significant number of non-Manipuris producing driving licence during verification exercises carried out by the police or volunteers of organisations that had been campaigning to regulate entry of outsiders into the state.

Therefore, competency and integrity of the Transport Department officials would be the decisive factor on whether or not Manipur turns into a dumping zone for used vehicles as and when the policy comes into effect.



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