What is PUC in motor vehicles

■ Authorities in Delhi want to severely punish the owners of exhaust fumes

Delhi (taz) - The same picture everywhere in town. The vehicles jam for kilometers in front of all the larger petrol stations. Traffic chaos. But it is not a supply bottleneck that forces many owners of a mobile pedestal to wait for hours, but a small sticker - pollution under control - PUC for short. If the engine is set correctly or if the amount given under the hand is correct, it sticks to the windshield. 25,000 of them on the first day.

Because recently Delhi's police are getting serious. At least that is what large-format advertisements in the daily newspapers of the Indian capital proclaim. This time the air pollutants on Delhi's streets are said to be on the collar. The penalties for this are severe. For example, 1,000 rupees (40 marks) are charged for a smoking exhaust, ten times as much as for a run-over red traffic light. If the offense is repeated, the vehicle is threatened with being pulled in.

Ujjwal Mishra, the officer in charge of the police in Delhi, says restrictively: “We will take tough action right from the start, but we don't have the space to store all the vehicles. It will probably only come to the collection of the vehicle documents. ”It is about time, because Delhi has worked its way up to fourth place of the most polluted cities on the planet with a daily emission of around 4,100 tons of exhaust fumes in the last few years.

After some relatively unsuccessful campaigns against the air polluting industry, it is now the owners of motor vehicles that are on their way. Even high-ranking politicians admit that this will not be easy. Last week, Interior Minister Indrajit Gupta blamed the police for the failure on Delhi's roads. The widespread corruption in his authority makes it possible to regain emission certificates or revoked driver's licenses with a few rupees.

The action is not only about the partly antediluvian trucks or the buses of the city transport companies, but also about the Vespas and the almost 100,000 three-wheeled motor rickshaws. 75 percent of the more than 2.6 million vehicles on Delhi's roads are two-stroke engines, which are the most polluting with their gasoline-oil mixture.

The reasons for the air pollution in Delhi, a city of eleven million people, which according to official figures kill around 7,500 people every year, are not only due to the outdated vehicle fleet or the poor quality of petrol. The increase in the number of vehicles is also breathtaking. In the first month of this year, almost 340,000 vehicles were registered in India, which is an increase of 15 percent compared to the same month last year.

Another reason is the lack of an efficient local public transport system. Delhi is one of the few megacities in the world that has neither suburban, underground nor trams. The city has been dependent on a fleet of completely outdated intercity buses for decades. The planning commission, which has been working on this topic for decades, decided last autumn to carry out two short test routes for a combined underground and suburban railway, but it will be at least another nine years before they are completed. Thomas Kummerow