Forum/2006 5th January 2006
To:
The Chief Secretary
Government of Andhra Pradesh
Secretariat
Hyderabad - 500 027

Sub:
Comments on "ACTION PLAN FOR TRAFFIC TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT IN HYDERABAD METROPOLITAN AREA

Report of the committee headed by Sri A. Raghotham Rao"

With reference to a letter of Dr. P. Chandrasekhar Rao, Honourable Judge, International Tribunal for the Law of Sea to Hon'ble Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court dt. 22 nd June 2004, the Hon'ble High Court directed the government on 16 th August 2005 as "we feel that Government should have a blue print, which would serve the purpose of managing the traffic not only for the present but also for future. For this purpose the Chief Secretary to the state of A.P. to appoint a Committee within a period of two weeks from today and shall finalize its report within three months from the date of its constitution. The report shall also be submitted to this Court immediately after it is ready". Accordingly the government appointed a committee headed by Sri. A. Raghotham Rao, Special Chief Secretary. The report of the committee was submitted to the High Court in December 2005.

Dear Sir,

Though the committee identified the problem at broad level, as traffic and transportation have an inverse relationship with economic growth, the situation calls for creation of a sound policy framework, strong enforcement machinery and robust infrastructure to accommodate the fast increasing vehicular density. For this purpose, creation of a Unified Metropolitan Transportation Authority for managing metropolitan transportation issues with adequate technical and infrastructure resources, supported by proper financial and legal powers is a must. For this purpose a massive Rs. 12,800 crores proposal was put forward but failed to address these in the right perspective to solve some of the basic problems immediately with the existing road network and enforcement machinery. With all this, the report hasn't taken into consideration the Cantonment area. In reality the government to meet their selfish/ego interests created majority of the traffic and transportation problems within MCH area. 3. Traffic Scenario in Hyderabad

The report speaks that "The Hyderabad Metropolitan Area [HMA] spreads over 1905 sq.km. and houses about 7 million people along with a floating population of 1 million per day. The Central Core area of the city, MCH, is only 168 sq.km. (about 9%) but it houses 60% of the HMA population and 70% of employment, and CBDs [central business district]". But failed to look into the growth rate of population and control future migration of neighbouring districts population into MCH area.

The report dealt a lot on the traffic and transportation issues pertaining to MCH and HMA areas but failed to address the main issue "decongesting the core area (MCH)" and on the contrary the government put more pressure on MCH area/core zone through commercial projects/tourism projects in and around Hussain Sagar, Musi, etc. All these counter the objective and at the same time increase the air pollution.

Where is the need to give permission for star hotels in prohibited zones of MCH area such as Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills by amending acts when outer ring road is being built outside MCH area?

Where is the need to regularize illegal constructions, constructed violating laws and create traffic and transport problems, by amending acts and at the same time to counter this problem widening of roads at the cost of innocent house owners along this road as well destruction of trees?

Unfortunately, our elected representatives of twin cities are more worried on increasing the capacity of Pothireddypadu head regulator [some of these leaders in the past proposed bring Godavari waters to city to meet the drinking water needs] to meet their selfish agenda [when our politicians are destroying water bodies (80% of 936 tanks - in and around Hyderabad) including Himayat Sagar & Osman Sagar, which provide drinking water to twin cities] and least bothered on traffic and transportation problems!!!

To de-congest the core zone the government must look at shifting some of the government offices, malls, multiplexes, marriage halls, etc to outside the MCH area. At the same time not to permit constructions relating to such activities including tourism/eco-tourism projects that create more traffic problems along with increased air pollution.

4. Problem Definition

4.1 Public Transport System (PTS): The report speaks that "Lack of effective, reliable and attractive PTS to serve the transportation demand of the city, combined with economic development has resulted in an increased mode share of personal motorized travel". Though it is an important issue, here it is pertinent to say that the use of personalized motor travel is not directly related to lack of PTS but due to availability of money and as a status symbol [particularly black money -- see the way the rates of plots are jacked-up and yet people are there to buy]. This is clearly evident from the fact that railway authorities cancelled MMTS in several routes for want of adequate passengers. This is basically because of not having proper understanding/coordination between MMTS authorities and APSRTC authorities to have a common ticketing facility - here; primarily both of them are looking at profits not at service to the public. The other important area is traffic jams due to VIP movements. However, this could be avoided by using helicopters. Introduce smaller buses to fit into the lanes/by-lanes.

4.2 Co-ordination: The report speaks that "Currently, different departments are in charge of various aspects of traffic and transport - is often resulting in delays in restoration and inconvenience to road users". Though it is an important issue, yet some of the problems would have been solved even without a centralized and unified authority for traffic and transportation. In the case of traffic regulations, the traffic police are more interested in collecting mamools/chalanas rather than regulating smooth vehicular moment.

4.3 Development of National & State Highways: It is not an issue in the present context.

4.4 Classification of Roadways: It is not an important issue in the present context.

4.5 Storm Water Drainage System: The report speaks that "The water drains in the city were designed decades ago and cater only to a fraction of the requirements of HMA". The fact is that majority of these storm water drains were encroached and some built multi-storied apartments illegally on these drains, which some are occupied by slums - most of these were provided with power supply and house numbers. Though Chief Minister directed the officials to clear these encroachments, it is moving at snail's speed. As a first step, the government must address clearing of all such illegal encroachments for smooth flow of storm water in the rainy season.

4.6 Engineering: The report speaks that "Problems in engineering relate to various aspects of roadways such as alignment, geometry, pavement design including footpaths, lane markings, traffic signals, etc. Most of the problems relating to alignment and non-uniform geometry of the roads in HMA are a result of haphazard historical growth". But the fact is that this is only a minor part and the major part is our government's adhocism. Overnight the government changes a residential zone in to commercial zone and thus aggravating the problem by serving the vested interests. We can cite some of the adhoc constructions: when Dr. M. Chenna Reddy was CM he developed the road to his residence, when N.T.Rama Rao was CM he developed Roads to his party office - in front of this office, traffic jams became a regular phenomena, when N. Chandrababu Naidu was CM he developed roads to benefit realtor friends, now the present CM Dr. Y. S. Rajashekara Reddy being from congress party, the road leading to the congress plenary hall is being developed, etc in this process the successive governments said 'good-bye' to town and transport planning and gave importance to adhoc planning. Since 1970's practically there is no improvement in -Patancheruvu-Mumbai road though the traffic increased multifold.

A glaring example of inept engineering design is the road around KBR Park, which creates traffic jams whenever there is runoff from KBR Park during rainy season - poor drainage and road system. In majority of the cases the road widening is serving as parking lots.

Let us look at the case of recent widening of road no. 36: several individual properties were encroached, hundreds of trees were cut along road nos. 36 & 45 of Jubilee Hills and residential zone of road no. 36 was changed to commercial zone. All this could have been avoided by making the road around KBR park as one way and allowing the traffic entering from road no. 2/3 of Banjara Hills at TDP office take left turn and go along KBR Park road and enter Road no. 45 of Jubilee Hills and returning from road no. 36 of Jubilee Hills and join road no.2/3 of Banjara Hills at TDP office. Between Road No. 45 & 36 of Jubilee Hills there are several link roads. This way the trees would have been saved, individual properties would have been saved, the area would have the status of residential zone and in addition time would have been saved by avoiding waiting time at signals. At the same time, valuable land of KBR Park would have been saved.

4.7 Town & Transport Planning: The report presents that "The planning process is the most important step in establishing future course of action. Town planning and transportation development are essentially inseparable. The share of road space occupied by roads in the HMA is only about 10% against a desirable 20%. It is estimated that about 30% of the actual roadway capacity in HMA is lost due to encroachments, on-street parking, hawkers [leading to pedestrians walking on the carriageway] and vehicles (especially autos and buses) stopping on carriageway to service their passengers". These present with reference to HMA but it is still worse in the case of MCH. The building regulations must go together with master plan. But, unfortunately the master plan is still a "draft". With this everything is going according to adhocism. Though the government is contemplating Ring Roads with the sole objective of decongestion, the very purpose is not served with the draft master plan on the one hand and successive governments allotting hundreds and thousands of acres to private bodies at will and pleasure, which are mis-used later [deviating from the objective for which they were allotted].

Take the case of Shamshabad International Airport : The proposed outer ring road - Phase-I does not serve the city traffic to reach the airport but serves the need of realtors and businessmen. In fact, the city traffic to reach Shamshabad Airport the best thing is to have above ground road from Mahdipatnam to Shamshabad -- in fact this was proposed by us at a public hearing on outer ring road Phase-I. The present outer ring road phase-I leads to destruction of the two water bodies [Himayat Sagar & Osman Sagar] that provide drinking water to twin cities as well as destroy and pollute reserve forest and national park.

4.8 Construction & Maintenance: --
4.9 Enforcement & Emergency Management: --
5. Earlier Studies
The report presents a list of earlier studies on the subject matter. The present report may be a part of the earlier studies in future.
6. Transportation & Planning Policy Measures

6.1 Unified Metropolitan Transportation Authority [UMTA]: This proposal was put forth as back as 1999 by Hyderabad Area Transportation Study [HATS], the government has not implemented so far.

6.2 Urban Transport Development Fund: The report states that "levy of direct taxes that would be credited to the account of the 'Urban Transport Fund' - This strategy has the twin benefit of generating funds for infrastructure development as well as discouraging travel by personal vehicles". The proposal does serve the purpose of generating funds but not discouraging personal vehicles use as plenty of black money is freely floating in the city -- Unless black money is curbed, which is impossible under the present socio-political-bureaucratic set-up - in fact a proposal was presented by me at a budget discussion sessions relating stamps & duty to curb black money through reducing the registration fee from 13.5% to 5-6% and increasing the land value to the market value. Though the government implemented partially this suggestion, by implementing this proposal fully the role of black money certainly will come down as most of the black money is changing hands in real estate transactions!!!

6.3 Budget Allocation for Traffic Police:

6.4 Zoning Laws: The basic question is whether the GOs have any legal sanctity? Because in GO 423 it is clearly stated that government has no power to give exemption but this is invariably used to serve the vested interests. HUDA has been working on Master Plan but running the system with "Draft" status without government's approval [Forum members submitted comments on draft huda master plan - 2020 & draft hada master plan] and thus changes are introduced with no basis and guidelines. Take the case of outer ring road.

The government is allocating hundreds and thousands of acres to private parties, but is it for public good? However, these are serving to jack-up prices of land.

Recently the government also circulated for comments the "simplified building regulations" [Forum members also submitted their comments on this] but no body knows the fate of this! The other important issue is illegal building constructions. Though the court has directed not to regularize such buildings, the government is doing the regularization unmindfully. Now, the Hon'ble High Court has already directed the government to submit the list of illegal constructions and at the same time asked the government not to regularize such constructions. That means, our government wakes up when the court directs and the next minute again go into deep slumber. This is one of the major causes for traffic and transport problems as well parking problems -- in most of these cases roads are being used as parking.

6.5 Parking Norms: First remove all "No Parking" signboards and put only "Parking" signboards. The other important cause for traffic and transportation problem is the haphazard parking/stopping of APSRTC buses and three wheelers on the main thourofares. Control RTC buses and three wheelers not to stop in the center of the road.

6.6 Traffic Impact Analysis [TIA]: This is not an important issue but while giving permission the government can stipulate the norms.

6.7 Pedestrianization: It must be done.

6.8 Functional Classification of Roadways: This can be adopted for future in HMA area.

6.9 Relocation of Religious Structures, Graveyards, etc.: It must be done.

6.10 Policy for Regulation of Hawkers: Hon'ble High Court has already directed the government in this direction. Even Hon'ble Supreme Court gave guidelines on this issue. The State government brought out GO 398 but not implemented it so far. Some individual house owners have encroached foot paths in front of their houses by building fences and ramps all over the city, including posh areas like Filmnagar, Jubilee Hills, etc - the society puts hundred and one rules to change the membership from seller's name to buyer's name to harass them [it takes years] but they have no time to attend on such issues. All such encroachments must be cleared. When government could bulldoze the individual house owners for road widening, why not apply the same in the case of road encroachers.

6.11 Amendments to Motor Vehicles Act: The government could not do any thing with the existing acts and what is that the government is going to achieve through amendments.

6.12 Staggering Timings of Schools, Offices & Commercial Establishments: It must be done.

7. Public Transportation System (PTS) Improvements The report discussed issues such as restructuring operations of APSRTC City Services, increasing fleet size of City Buses, construction of bus-bays and shelters, Automatic fleet management & information service, improvements to MMTS Rail services, expansion of MMTS network, mass rapid transit System (MRTS), etc. Unfortunately, already the management of MMTS services started cutting running of MMTS in some routes, as there was no cooperation between MMTS and APSTRC. Therefore, first there is a need to strengthen the existing systems [linking MRTS and APSRTC, etc]. At the same time induce road sense among APSRTC bus drivers. These buses are the major cause for traffic jams in several busy roads. RTC buses come from left side and take right turn at signal points and cause traffic jams/accidents. Traffic Police just watch this tamasha!!!

8. Transportation Infrastructure Development

Under this, the report discussed issues such as road capacity improvement [identified 103 roads within MCH area, 29 roads outside MCH area for widening], link roads & bridges [proposed two link roads, 5 bridges across Musi River within MCH area and 8 outside MCH area], outer ring road, ROB & RUBs [proposed 3 RUBs and 12 ROBs], grade separators [proposed flyovers 4 in phase-I and 9 in phase-II], Junction improvements [proposed 44 in MCH area and 72 in outside MCH area], signalization of junctions [proposed 26 in MCH area and 45 in outside MCH area], signage & Road Markings, 10 truck parking lots, pedestrian safety & promotion [proposed footpaths/sidewalks, 19 pedestrian signals, 20 foot over bridges/skywalks].

Unfortunately, the government failed to utilize the roads that were widened for the purpose for which they were widened. They are mainly serving as parking areas. A glaring example to this is presently seen along Road Nos. 2 & 3 of Banjara Hills. In the case of road over bridges, study the problems with the existing road over bridges before venturing into new. Take the case of Paradise over bridges, which have increased the pollution and accidents.

9. Roadway Construction & Maintenance

This is an important issue but relates to the implementation of existing norms.

10. Traffic Management & Emergency Response

Under this the report discusses "strengthening of traffic police infrastructure, upgradation of TRA database, enhancement of penalties for violations, restriction on slow traffic, severe restrictions on rallies/assembly of people on roads, traffic education & awareness/traffic campaign. Here the important issue is restriction on slow traffic". This must be implemented. This plan must cover Cantonment area also.

11. Engineering Data & Analysis

This section dealt with "traffic & land-use database, travel demand modeling, accident analysis, printing section, management of school traffic". This should have been the basis on which the Government should have prepared their Action Plan in sections 7 & 8.

12. Pollution Control

The Hon'ble Supreme Court took up this issue and in response the government has submitted an action plan. The court has appointed Sri. Bhurelal committee to look into the progress achieved in the proposed action plan - We also submitted a memorandum to Hon'ble Chief Minister, Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy on 6 th June 2004. There was no progress. Now this report talks of penalties to improve revenue instead implementing the tasks presented in the action plan. Take for example, in the case of Pollution Under Check Certification: The government has submitted to the Hon'ble Supreme Court that the vehicles without PUC certificate will not be provided fuel from December 2003. Same is the case with adulterated fuel that contributes 45% of the pollution load. Has this been implemented?

Conclusions/Suggestions

The report is basically looking at how and what way Rs. 12, 800 crores will be spent and how and what way to recover the money from the public through fines/penalties/taxes and not to solve the problem of traffic and transportation in true sense. This is most unfortunate. In conclusion, with the existing road-network adopting and implementing some simple actions by the government could solve more than 50% of the traffic and transportation problems. The following are some of the suggestions [in addition to the points suggested at appropriate above discussed sections] in this direction:

  • Persons with technical know-how should be entrusted with the jobs suited to their knowledge instead of general bureaucrats. Because we do not do this, all our developmental activities are ineffective.

  • Cantonment area must also cover under the plan

  • Stop parking on roads with immediate effect -- demarcate parking zones and not 'no parking zones'

  • Clear footpath encroachments [by hawkers, businessmen/shopkeepers, individual house owners - remove fencing/ramps on footpaths -- and construct pedestrians crossing over bridges at appropriate places

  • Shift some of the government offices, malls/multiplexes, marriage halls, tourism/eco-tourism projects, etc beyond core zone/MCH area to newer townships in HMA with MMTS connections

  • Traffic police must divert their attention towards regulating traffic rather than spending most of their time on mammools/chalana collection activities

  • Divert VIP traffic through the use of helicopters

  • Demarcate separate grounds for the celebration of festivals, demonstrations, etc outside MCH area with MMTS connections

  • In areas like Begumpet, road crossings in between the Airport and Rail Road over bridges must be facilitated by having 'U' turns under the two road over bridges with pedestrian crossing over bridges

  • Issue common tickets that connect MMTS terminals with APSRTC buses

  • Use smaller buses to meet the requirements of lanes/by-lanes

  • Make sure that APSRTC and Three Wheelers stop at the bays and not at the center of the road

  • To cover APSRTC losses, introduce super markets in the major bus depots

  • Introduce one day weekly-off for all personalized cars/jeeps

Yours truly,

[Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy]
General Secretary & Convener
Urban Transportation, Traffic, Noise Pollution, Auto Pollution, Industrial Pollution, etc.

CC :-

  1. Commissioner/MCH

  2. VC/HUDA
 
INDUSTRIAL POLLUTION [In and around Hyderabad]
- Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
It is frightening; children and adults today carry an estimated 300 or more chemical residues that were not present in their grandparent's body. These chemicals accumulate in the body with time and are passed on to the next generation often in high concentrations. Waterborne diseases, caused by the intake of chemicals and contaminated water, affect around 3.4 million people globally. In India, around' 5, 63, 000 people are affected annually, one fourth of which are children, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. [Down to Earth June 15, 2002]. In addition to health hazards, the industries have turned agricultural lands into chemical deserts and turned water bodies [both ground and surface] into cess-pools of poison. This affected severely not only humans but also animal and agriculture. Long term and indiscriminate application of raw sewage effluent to agricultural field without prior treatment that contains heavy metals in association with suspended solid (sludge) particles may cause accumulation of toxic metals in soils (with subsequent transfer to food chain) - The Hindu Nov. 6, 2003. In the state of Andhra Pradesh around 6000 industries are registered by 2002-03 out of which around 2000 are large & medium scales and around 4000 are small scale industries. Of these registered industries around 5000 industries are categorized as "polluting industries". In addition, there are several industries operating illegally or established from single window clearance cell with false declarations. The Pollution Control Board [APPCB] to keep the pollution under control periodically monitors majority of these polluting industries. The industries are categorized as red, orange and green in which the Central Board office plays pivotal role in the case of red category industries and the other two are under the- purview of zonal/regional offices. Yet, this is a Herculean task - as during the inspection either the industry will be shutdown or the management will tell that the pollution equipment is either under repair or under maintenance. This is common practice with polluting industries to avoid any action. The main problem in the monitoring of these industries is that the industries were started with old technology when there were few industries and the pollution load was less. Now both registered and unregistered industries have grown and thus pollution load also has grown multifold. Majority of the polluting industries are located in and around the capital city. Major percentage of industries in these industrial areas consists of Synthetic Organic Chemicals (bulk drugs and intermediates), Oil Refineries, and Textiles, Tanneries, Electroplating units and Distilleries. ENVIRONMENTAL ACT s & GO s To protect the environment, the central government enacted the Water Act of 1974 and the Air Act of 1981. Yet based on the need, the Andhra Pradesh government issued time-to-time GOs to protect the water bodies. Time to time Honorable High Court and Honorable Supreme Court also intervened and gave directions on several issues pertaining to pollution control, remediation, keeping out the polluting industries from certain areas, etc. CPCB brought out a manual for preparation of zoning atlas for siting of industries (based on environmental consideration) now (1997), which should have been done long back. The report says, "Proper siting of newly planned industries and industrial estates is a strong pollution preventive instrument that ensures environmental soundness of the industrial development. It is the site that ultimately determines which water bodies might be affected by effluent discharged by an industry". GO Ms No. 62 of 8-4-1998
GO Ms No. 62 of 28-4-1998 orders a permanent ban on establishment of polluting industries in IDA s of 4 districts around the capital city, namely Hyderabad, Nalgonda, Ranga Reddy & Medak. The GO also stipulates that the polluting industries in this zone must achieve standards on hazardous effluents generated without resorting to fresh water dilution and by reduction of hydraulic load of generated effluents by 20%. Some of the industries in fact are violating this and yet there is no means of checking this, as APPCB does not have the data, regarding the recorded water consumption, generation of effluents and water balance as per the conditions specified in CFE & CFO orders, in respect of each polluting industry. The drugs industries, a5 per the market change the products without consent from the Pollution Control Board. In this process, some of these industries increase the pollution load hydraulic load as much as even up to 10 to 20 times over the consented load instead reducing by 20%. With this, the industries are dumping the highly contaminated pollution liquid effluents [untreated] into open areas or into water bodies, and so also is the case with huge quantities of hazardous solid waste generated by them and thereby contaminating ground water. Segregation of waste waters into degradable organic (low IDS) stream for further treatment by CETPs [Central Effluent Treatment Plants] and non-degradable inorganic (high TOS) stream for further treatment and disposal by the industry. Contrary to this direction, some industries were found diluting high IDS using fresh water. These industries contaminated both surface water [tanks/rivers] and ground water along with fertile agriculture lands. The courts directed the government on the restoration of tanks through remediation but the remediation work of Khazipally Cheruvu could not be commenced, and the state government could not stop even the discharge of effluents into the Cheruvu. Times of India brought this to open on 7.11.2002 under the caption "Effluents wipe out agriculture." GO Ms No. 111 MA dated 8-3-1996 The two lakes namely, Himayatsagar & Osmansagar that provide drinking water of 45 mgd to Hyderabad are protected from pollution through G.O.Ms No. 111 M.A. dated 8-3-1996. This GO prohibits polluting industries, major hotels, residential colonies or other establishments that generate pollution within the 10 km radius of Full Tank Level (FTL,) -, which was upheld by the Hon'ble Supreme Court [judgment dated 1 _ 12-2000 in Civil Appeal Nos. 368-371 of 1999]. It further says that "In fact, exemption granted even to a single major hazardous industry might itself be sufficient to make the water in the reservoirs totally unsafe for drinking purposes - Such an order of exemption carelessly passed, ignoring the 'precautionary principle' could be catastrophic." Precautionary Principle means "prevention measures" rather than "control measures". Yet in violation of these the state government is permitting polluting activities within the 10 km radius of FTL, which include Hyderabad International Airport at Shamshabad, DNA laboratory, Golf Courses, etc. Eenadu (6.11.2003) reports that plans are under way to tamper GO 111 to benefit Real Estate under the guise of Tourism. The JNTU study covering a 36 year period (1961 to 1996) reported that catchment areas have shrunk to the extent of 80% for Osmansagar and 70% for Himayatsagar. The proposed International Airport near Shamshabad is going to affect another 11 % of the catchment area of the Himayatsagar. CENTRAL EFFLUENT TREATMENT PLANTS If provided with effluents from industries using similar processes and chemicals or with sewage from households, CETP [Central Effluent Treatment Plants] can effectively fix simple parameters such as Total Dissolved Solids (TOS), Total Suspended Solids (TSS), BOD, COD, and pH so that the discharge standards for these parameters are met. Even if the standards are met for these parameters, it does not mean that effluents from CETPs would be safe and healthy. Industrial effluents and mixed industrial-sewage are harmful to the environment because of the presence of life-threatening persistent organic poisons, volatile organics and heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, arsenic, chromium and mercury. Instead of getting rid of the pollution, CETPs merely redistribute the poisons from the liquid to solid sludge phase. This may reduce the immediate contermination of surface waters, but create an additional contaminated waste stream - of poisonous sludge - that must be disposed of. This sludge contributes significantly to air pollution by pollutants that volatilize into the environment. Final treated effluents of JETl at V -notch before joining sewer observed during different periods of 2000 indicated Phenol of 37 to 66.4 mgjl [limit 5 mgjl]; Ammonical Nitrogen of 167 mgjl [limit 50 mgjl]; Iron of 0.53 to 3.95 mgjl; lead of 0.34 to 0.63 mgjl [limit 0.1 mgjl]; etc. The key to any successful long-term strategy to move away from impending toxic crisis is cleaner production, either by substituting the poisonous chemicals with less toxic ones or by changing the process to one which deals with less problematic chemicals [chemical to physical process]. Deccan Chronicle (6.11.2003) reports that PCB wants the JETl to bring down the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) to 35 tonnesjday while the industry says we have already brought down from 85 to 45 but reduction of TDS as low as 35 is difficult. In terms of treatment of pollution by the CEPTs at Patancheru (PETl) and Bollarum are it bit worse than that of JETL. Though IDPl is not practically working but its' Effluent treatment Plant also serving this purpose. The pollution of industrial areas covered by CETP at Patancheru is still continuing in spite of monitoring by the Hon'ble Supreme Court for a long time. The 18 km pipeline is a clever camouflage to cover up the inability of CPCB, APPCB and the state government for effective implementation of JAP (Joint Action Plan) endorsed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court on 12-5-1998. It only dilutes and shifts the problem to elsewhere and to other people down stream of Musi (Order dated 18-7-2000). WEAKNESSES IN ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS There are two most important weaknesses in environmental laws in controlling the pollution. Firstly, there are certain parameters, which are of utmost importance in terms of health hazard, have no standards. With this, though APPCB knew, through practical experience, a given parameter is. Exceeding the environmental tolerance limit they cannot take any action against that industry. Secondly, the most unfortunate position is that none of the environmental Acts have provisions to punish a polluter with high penalties or put them behind bars. The only option now available is to close the industry. This led to acrimonious feelings between APPCB and industry and the press and this lead to making some PCB officials sacrificial scapegoats. To avoid this type of negative reactions, PCB introduced the system of "bank guarantee". However, this was not found to be an effective mechanism to control the pollution. Closure is effective only when firstly; APPCB is able to serve the notice and secondly, AP Transco disconnects the power to the industry on the basis of this notice. Here the main problem is that these industries are so powerful they virtually undetermined the authority of APPCB and see the closure notice is withdrawn and make employees as sacrificial scapegoats using the assistance of vigilance department. My self brought some of these to the notice of CM through e-mail dated 23-5-2003 for appropriate action. The said industry lifted 1000 tonnes, of hazardous waste but yet it has not stopped the discharge into vagu and not lifted the remaining huge quantity of solid waste to TSDF Dundigal In the case of Power disconnection, APPCB is unable to take any action against AP Transco. Now, the Hon'ble High Court has appointed a committee to go
into all aspects pertaining to 18 km pipeline with retired judge as chairman (!!!).

The other important point here is that the government under the guise of 'High Power Committee (HPC)' vitiate/distort/dilute the very theme of the court judgments to protect vested interests at the cost of water bodies. This was brought to the notice of Chief Minister through e-mail for appropriate action on the Supreme Court judgment with reference to industries located in Himayatsagar and Osmansagar catchment areas on 24.6.2003. The HPC categorized 152 industries and put majority of them under watch/monitoring. In the case of some of the highly water polluting industries category such as textiles industries were protected with Reverse Osmosis (RO) disguise. Unfortunately, these industries have very poor track record in the past. No body knows how much polluted effluents they are generating and how much is diverted through concealed under ground pipes. Yet the HPC recommended RO and allowed them to stay and pollute the two lakes instead shifting them to outside the limit, so that the two lakes can be saved from degradation. How difficult it is to monitor these industries can be highlighted with the two cases one from the 18.6.2003 hearing and the other from the preceding to this hearing dated 20.5.2003. On 18.6.2003 hearing it was brought to the notice of the committee that one of the textile industry management didn't permit the PCB officials 'on duty' to inspect the industry. On 20.5.2003 hearing another industry was called for hearing for not installing RO. He openly challenged the committee saying that he is in possession of a video-tape showing how industries with .RO are dumping the eflluents without treating them through RO as the power bills are increasing. These two cases clearly reflect that it is beyond the PCB to control these industries and other such high water polluting industries located in this area. To have check, APPCB suggested having separate energy meters for RO and ETP and having water meters for inlet and outlet of ETP. None of them are interested on the energy meter and water meter and even if they have they say they were mal-functioning or out of order. Thus, without taking the ground realities whatever the decision taken makes pollution control a mockery. The Times of India on 17-11-2002 reported "Kattedan industrial waste turns lake [Noor Mohannned Kunta] into veritable death bed"; and on 19-11-2002 reported "High arsenic levels pollute Kattedan": A study conducted by the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) has revealed high levels of arsenic, lead, strontium and other heavy metals in the soil and water in Kattedan. Soil samples taken ftom Kattedan revealed high quantities of arsenic - 8 ppm to 15 ppm [permissible level- 2 ppm] -, which is an extremely poisonous chemical that can cause cancer of the bladder, kidney, liver, skin; lead too is alarmingly high - more than 1000 ppm [permissible level- 50 ppm] -, which can affect nervous system, kidneys, inhibits production of haemoglobin, interferes with fetal growth skeletal formation and renal cancer. Water samples revealed high levels of lead, strontium - 2000 ppb [pennissible level- 100 ppb], selenium ­more than 20 ppb {permissible level- 10 ppb], which will impede growth and cause anaemia SUMMARY

The courts pass strictures but the government under the guise of high power committees' side steps the strictures. In line with poor town planning, industrial planning was also very poor and with this fertile agriculture lands the turned into chemical deserts and precious water [both surface & ground] turned into cess-pools of poison. Now in order to protect the polluting industries, the government is contemplating to shift the pollution from industrial areas through a pipeline to new non-industrial areas to generate more chemical deserts and cess-pools of poison. ·        Large quantities of hazardous solid waste is dumped into unscientific landfills or dumped into tanks or dumped into open areas. This is the major cause for ground water contamination in addition to surface water contamination on a continuous basis. The government must take immediate steps to shift this hazardous waste to TSDF Dundigal as per the courts directives.

There is a need that APPCB [CPCB has delegated such authority to PCBs] to define standards to all those parameters of environmental concern with respect to local experience. CPCB should guide the central government to amend the Acts to have provisions to punish a polluter with high penalties and or to put them behind bars.
At the same time there is a need to modify the existing air and water acts as well as other relevant laws of industrialization in line with the advancements in Science & Technology, to protect the environment & public health from pollution and in this direction providing more teeth to PCBs.  
PCBs should also have highly qualified accountable working scientists to test, assess quality functioning of industries. Otherwise extensive chemical desertification [ex. Patancheruvu, jeedimetla, Pashamylaram, Parts of Kazipalli and some coastal areas] will result. Urgent government remedial action, public assertion consistently and responsibly is needed.        
Finally, without the will of government [politicians & bureaucrats] the environmental Acts/ GOs or laws or judgments of High Court or Supreme Court or environmental movements are all futile exercise.
The Government should recognise its responsibilities to the future generations and take stringent measures against all following inactivates.
 
VEHICULAR POLLUTION(In and around Hyderabad)

- Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

 This is one way of looking back what damages we have done to the environment through our in-appropriate actions and how to arrest/control further damages that we may inflict on the environment in future. In the last around 200 years the industrialization and the associated urbanization and population growth inflicted severe damage to the environment in several different ways. We consider environment as source that is available freely and after using it we dump the waste generated in the process to destroy the environment. This is a creation of man's greed at the cost of his own health. Among these the most hazardous waste is the "evil" pollution. The presence of the evil pollution in the atmosphere generated several hazards such as health hazard, climate change hazard this including the global warming, ozone hole, etc. There are several agents that cause pollution, namely industry, vehicles, disposal of biomedical waste, disposal of bio-degradable waste, burning of non-degradable waste such as plastics and PVC pipes, modern agricultural inputs (fertilizer, insecticides/pesticides/herbicides, etc), building activity, mining activity etc. According to Down to Earth report of January 31, 2001 of the twelve dirtiest states in the country that pollute the air and water, both with toxic pollutants and as well as metal pollution, Andhra Pradesh takes the 5th position with Tamil Nadu in the 9th position and Karnataka in the 11th position; and in terms of top 10 polluting states Andhra Pradesh takes the 4th place. Hyderabad is the de facto Andhra Pradesh. Health hazards: The studies indicate that the constituents of vehicular pollution cause several health hazards in addition to modification of weather in and around the capital city. For example nitrogen oxide causes sore throat, running nose and in severe cases pulmonary dysfunction. Leukemia is caused due to continuous exposure to benzene. It is said that the synergy between ozone and nitrous oxides causes asthma. Particulate matter released due to adulterated fuel, some of which gets absorbed into the blood, is the cause for cardiovascular diseases, breathing problems and lung cancer in severe cases lead, released due to un-burnt fuel causes heart ailment and hypertension. Here age is not a barrier. The small particulates, coated with toxic gases in Auto Emissions are called Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM). The particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter (PM 10), is considered unsafe, since it is respirable. The fine particles PM 2.5 are considered to be more dangerous than PM 10, as they contain more sulphates and nitrates, having serious health impacts. As per the study published in the journal of American Medical Association, a mere increase of 10 micrograms per cubic meter of fine particles (smaller than 2.5 microns or PM 2.5), can increase the risk of lung cancer by 8%, cardio pulmonary deaths by 6% and all deaths by 4%. In our country, CPCB started publishing PM 10 data only from 199_, for the whole of the country for the first time. These data shows that PM 10 has recorded critical levels in 13 cities - Hyderabad is one, and can reach as high as four times the national annual standard of 60 micrograms per cubic meter. As against this the PM 10 levels are below 40 micrograms in almost 90% of the cities in the US. The PM 2.5, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) and Benzene, exposure to which may lead to cancer, is not even mentioned in India. APPCB data of Hyderabad present PM 10 peaking to dangerous levels up to 750 micrograms per cubic meter. Even the lowest peak value of RSPM recorded is around 150 marks. The high incidence of respiratory, cancer and cardio pulmonary causes in and around Hyderabad should be an eye opener to the state government! The high-tech PUC certificate does not address the deadly RSPM, P AH, Benzene, etc. Pollution under Control (PUC): Check is serving the purpose of harassing the public to collect mamools. This does not really check pollutants that cause health hazards and also it is not a suitable testing procedure for diesel vehicles. This is another wasteful expenditure on the vehicle owners. In fact the particle size (the particulate matter size of 2.5 microns, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) and Benzene, are not even monitored in India) plays the major role. Nowadays, even new vehicles show pollution is not under control, basically because when you give your vehicle for service, there is no guarantee that it will come back without replacing new parts by old parts. It is easy to tamper the miles the vehicle had run! To date still more than 40% of the vehicles are not having PUC certificates and to make others to follow, the government planned to introduce from 1 st December, 2003 "fuel with PUC" program but not implemented. POLLUTION LOAD: Automobiles generate around 75% of the obseryed air pollution. The automobile pollution has become an intangible and veritable threat to the citizens of Hyderabad, as the number 'of vehicles and their harmful emissions and consequent respiratory diseases, incidence of lung cancer and cardio pulmonary deaths are rapidly increasing. It is time to act swiftly and decisively to minimize automobile emissions by a prudent course of action, to save the citizens of Hyderabad from slow, silent and sure poisoning. The air pollution load, due to automobiles, at any given point is a function of three factors, namely vehicles, fuel and town planning/dispersion capacity of the ambient. Let us see the state of these three factors in and around Hyderabad. Vehicles: Population Growth: Not only the number of vehicles but also type, make and age play important role in the estimation of pollution load and their effect on environment and human health. At the time of state formation the population was around 3 cores and according to the census of 2001 it is 7.57 cores. Of these 2.05 cores is urban. In the last 45 years the population has grown by 1.5 times. The urban population during 1901 was 9.65%; this rose to 17.44% during 1961 and 27.08% by 2001. The population in the capital city of Hyderabad rose from 4.48 lakh in 1901 to 57.52 lakh in 2001 - 7.6% of the state's population (the same was 63.83 lakhs in total HUDA area). In a span of 100 years the population has grown by 11.84 times. This growth in population increased the needs of transport. Vehicle Type Vs Pollution Load: As on 31.3.1999 the entire state had 24.7 lakh 2-wheelers of which 30.67% (7.58Iakhs) are in the Hyderabad only and of the 1.74lakh cars in the state Hyderabad had 0.84 lakhs (48.06%). In 2001 around 10.99 lakhs (around 14.3 7 lakhs in total HUDA area on 31.3.2002) vehicles were on the capital city roads generating a whopping amount of pollution load ot' 1123 tons/day (around 1500 tons/day iA total HUDA area on 31.3.2002). Among the 10.99 lakh vehicles, 78% constituted two-wheelers, 12% cars, 5% each of three-wheelers and buses-lorries. The 5% of busses-lorries emitted (39% of pollution load) as much as the 78% of two-wheeler vehicles (42% of pollution load); the 5% of three-wheelers emitted around 7% of the pollution load and the 12% of cars emitted around 12% pollution load. In the last five years (1995-96 to 2000-01) the pollution load was doubled (from 491 tjday to 1123 t/day) though the number of vehicles increased was only by 25% -1.08 lakh vehicles in 1981 raised to 4.50 lakh vehicles in 1991 and 10.99 lakh vehicles in 2001. The integrated pollution load, thus, presented a non-linear increase. That means, in future at this rate a small increase in number of vehicles will contribute higher pollution loads. This means pollution load is not only the function of number of vehicles on the road but also some other factors, namely age of the vehicle or make of the vehicle, fuel type/adulteration and urban growth/ traffic management, etc. Vehicle make vs pollution load: The pollution emission load of vehicles manufactured after 1990 per vehicle was less than 10% of the vehicles manufactured prior to 1990. The pollution load (CO=carbon monoxide) from 12 cars produced after 1 st April 2000, would be roughly equivalent to the pollution from one car produced before 1990, correspondingly 17, 2-wheelers are equivalent to one 2-wheeler and 10, 3-wheelers are equivalent to one 3-wheeler. Fuel: Fuel type and fuel adulteration play important role in determining the pollution load under different categories of pollutants. Fuel type vs pollution type: From the available data from various sources, efforts are made to indicate the source and magnitude of the pollution loads; 61.4% of CO, 34.0% of HC and 4.6% of NOx and particulates. As per pollution profiles of vehicles prepared by Indian Institute of Petrolium/ Dehradun, the petrol two-stoke 2 and 3 wheelers are estimated to have to their credit, about 70% of total vehicular unburnt Hydro Carbons (He) and 46% of the total r=O emissions with negligible NOx, while the vehicles powered with diesel engines emit 22% of HC, 29% of CO and 94% of NOx. The petrol four-wheelers, on the other hand, emit 7.5% of HC, 25% of CO and 5% of NOx. The buses, trucks etc., all most all of them powered with diesel engines, operating in HUDA limits, are estimated to be about 50,000 (less than 5%), out of which 50% are known to be older than 15 years and contributing to about 39% of the total pollution load. Diesel contains sulphur level of about 0.5 to 1.0% to be reduced to 0.25% by the year 2000. Three refineries are already supplying 0.05% diesel to the four metros. SPM levels are directly proportional to the sulphur content. Also sulphur is a poison for catalytic converters. Diesel engines are 20-30% more efficient and inherently cleaner than petrol engines and if low sulphur diesel is extensively available then new technology engines can be used to meet the EURO III norms. Indian gasoline's have high levels of Benzene which is a class I carcinogen Studies in Mumbai indicate that Benzene levels to be 40-70 times above WHO standards. Gasoline engines produce 19.4 g/mile of benzene and diesel engines produce only 1.40g/mile. Sadly Benzene levels are not covered under new laws or by the Supreme Court orders. Benzene levels in India are currently at 3%. Reliance's new refinery is expected to produce at 2% level. International standards range from 1.1 % to 2.5%. Sulphur content in Indian gasoline is 0.2% whereas European gasoline has 0.02% with planned reductions to 0.003%. Lead pollution is not a major problem any more since only unleaded fuels are being supplied across the country from the year 2000. The analysis of air pollution carried out in USA reveals those emissions from diesel engines account 78% of the total cancer risk. Fuel vs adulteration: The principal problem with older lorries/transport vehicles, 3-wheelers and a to a limited extent the 2-wheelers is use of adulterated fuel - mixing of kerosene with petrol, diesel adulterated 2-T oil. Based on the level of adulteration the load of different pollutants combination changes along with the technical load. Atmospheric Dispersion Capacity: The atmospheric dispersion capacity relates to the congestion factor and traffic management or free flow factor. Congestion factor relates to road width, building density both horizontal and vertical growth, change of land use and building regulations, destruction of greenery, destruction of water bodies, etc. The Building renualisation scheme and manipulation of zoning regulations (the draft HUDA Master Plan-2003 puts this in black & white by stating that residential zones can be converted into commercial zones) i.e., at the cost of public welfare the government wants to earn money). With this some pockets of the city have become heat islands affecting people living around these heat islands. The other major impediments in terms of traffic management or free flow of vehicles are non-availability of footpaths, pedestrian crossings over-bridges, road dividers, bays for buses/3-seaters/7-seaters, road widening/parking/vertical growth of city, slow/fast moving vehicles, traffic signals/road design, etc. The road over bridges constructed recently are causing more problems rather than solving them. Road dividers without accompanying pedestrain crossing over bridges are causing more porblems. Thus, the hindrances for free flow of vehicles relate to occupation of footpaths, non-existing of pedestrian crossing road over bridges, bad roads, road cuttings, poor road sense by road users, stopping in the middle of the road by RTC buses, slow moving 3-wheelers, improper traffic management etc. MINIMIZATION OF POLLUTION LOAD Reduction of pollution has two parts, namely reduction of pollution load and reduction in respirable particulate matter content in the load. This includes dispensing with vehicles older than 15 years from city roads, eradication of adulterated fuel, changing the fuel mode, traffic management & town planning, etc. Vehicles older than 15 years: In 1999 at a meeting convened by Ministry of Transport at Secretariat, Gov_rnment accepted to withdraw vehicles older than 15 years in a phased manner. A year later the government announced dispensing all those vehicles older than 15 years from the city roads. The public opposed this and then the government withdraws the Order. Now, with the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India's directive in WP (c) No. 13029 of 1985, dated 14-8-2003 "that among other 13 cities, 'Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM)' levels in Hyderabad city has become a serious problem and directed to draw a plan to bring down their levels" the government convened a meeting on 16.10.2003 and presented the proposal of 1999 suggested by us. However, at this meeting the other departments like Traffic Police & MCH were not represented. Adulterated fuel: In one of the official meetings during 2000, where the Forum also participated, it was agreed to create a special task force to tackle the menace of fuel adulteration and accordingly it was constituted. However, no progress was evident in this direction. But, now the government says (at the 16.10.2003 meeting) that there is no law to punish the seller or user of adulterated fuel. This shows the indifferent attitude of the state government in controlling auto pollution. Change of fuel mode: Table 1 given below presents the pollutiion loads under different fuel modes. In the gas mode, the SPM's are low. In the case of RTC buses, the "fuel mode" can be converted into "gas mode". On 3rd November 2003 the first 'Auto LPG Dispensing Station' in Secunderabad, run by Margadarsi Service Centre, a dealer for HPCl was opened. HPCl runs two more, one at Attapur and the other at Bahadurpura. The other such facility in the city is the BPCl's lakdikapul outlet. 10Cl runs three: Thimmapur, Kompally and Moulali. The OMVl conversion kits are made in Italy imported by Ace LPG Car Kits and distributed in AP. by Jeeyar Enterprises. The major deterrent in this was the cost of conversion kits - Rs. 14000 for auto-rickshaws, Rs. 1 9000 for cars with carburetors and Rs. 23000 for cars with multi-point fuel injection system. To minimize the burden, it was suggested to give some sops to those vehicle owners who convert from fuel to gas mode. However, it was cautioned not to encourage very old vehicles, which may pose more danger. At present the gas filling takes 4 minutes for an auto-rickshaw and slightly more for cars. Table: 1.Alternate Fuels vs pollution: Gasoline, diesel, LPG and CNG
Mode gm/km      
  Gasoline LPG CNG Diesel
CO 1.50 1.00 0.50 0.60
HC 0.20 0.10 0.50 0.10
NOx 0.25 0.20 0.25 0.60
SPMs 0.01 0.005 0.01 0.03
Alternate mode of transport: The use of 2-wheelers can be brought-down if we can improve the public transport system. This includes the RTC bus network, MRTS (Mass Rapid Transport System) LRTS (Light Rail Transport System). The other important area to reduce the two-wheeler traffic on city roads is through decongestion of Hyderabad and development of counter magnets. Under this, the outer ring road of the HUDA draft master plan of 2003 can have both road and rail tracks. All these actions will also reduce, to a certain extent, the pollution load of Lorries in the city area and contribute to the free flow of vehicles on the road. However, it was reported during the 16.10.2003 meeting that the population using public transport system is coming down day by day. Improve the dispersion capacity: To de-congest, widen road width, implement strict zoning regulations, stop BRS, develop counter magnets, restore water bodies, improve effective greenery, etc. Thus, to have free flow of vehicles, restore foot paths, plan pedestrian crossing over bridges stop road cuttings, check road toppings for quality, develop bus-bays & 3-wheeler bays, infuse road sense among RTC and 3-wheeler/2-wheeler drivers, etc. SUMMARY:          The government must follow the integrated approach to have effective implementation of air pollution control.          The government should not limit to slogans like clean and green but must show its sincerity in practice.          Old commercial & diesel vehicles with span more than 15-years shall be "barred from plying in the city area with immediate effect".          Fuel adulteration shall be "monitored and checked effectively". The government must start taking action against use and sale of adulterated fuel within existing frame-work of state & central laws without waiting for the Amendment of Environmental Acts.          Alternate mode of public transport (RTc, MRTS, LRTS) shall be "strengthened covering all areas of the city".          Discourage/stop "ad hoc change of land use regulations and BRS," in the city.          Develop "counter magnets" and the proposed outer ring road shall have both road and rail network.          Develop pedestrian crossing over bridges along with road dividers. Use traffic police effectively in regulating traffic flow. Develop effective greenery and water bodies.
 
Rising Vehicular Pollution Causing slow poisoning and early death   
A growing metropolitan city, phenomenal increase in the number of vehicles, traffic jams, rising vehicular pollution, lack of footpaths and unsafe roads for pedestrian, more stress on flyovers rather than efficient public transport. These symptoms characterise the present predicament of Hyderabad.
For more.. read below:
The Hyderabad Urban Agglomeration has grown rapidly during eighties and nineties. From 4.66 million in 1991, its population is estimated to have reached about 6.0 million in 2001. Unplanned and haphazard growth of the city, coupled with migration from the districts and lack of efficient public transport system, has resulted in a chaotic situation for traffic in the city. In the last two decades the number of vehicles has grown enormously. People are increasingly depending on personal vehicles for transport. Consequently, traffic jams and choking of streets have become quite common.

Currently there are about 11 lakh (1.1 million) vehicles in the city. Two-wheelers and cars have recorded very high growth rates in the nineties, registering an increase at the rate of about 10% per year, during the last five years. About 80% of the vehicles are two-wheelers, which are mostly powered by 2-stroke engines, contributing to the bulk of unburnt hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. About 10% are transport vehicles comprising of trucks, buses, multi-utility vehicles, taxis and 3-wheelers. The transport vehicles used for commercial purposes, totaling to about 90 000, are normally run for more than 100 kms per day and most of them are using diesel as fuel. More than 50% of these vehicles are reported to be not eligible or unfit for PUC (Pollution Under Control) certificate, as they are older than 15 years. The useful life of the engine of any vehicle, covering an average of 300 km per day, is estimated to be not more than six years, as it is not possible to meet the specified standards after 500,000 kms of usage, even with best of the efforts.


Traffic jams are a  familiar sight in the city Courtesy: Eenadu
Several flyovers built in the last few years have not helped much in easing traffic congestion. In fact, three of them, still under construction at Secretariat, Narayanaguda and the one completed recently at Masab Tank, are major obstructions to the free flow of vehicles. Though the road widening has helped in a few places, lack (or disappearance) of footpaths is forcing many commuters to use personal vehicles even for short distances. It is not an exaggeration to say that walking on city roads has become the most risky activity in Hyderabad.

The vehicles emit various toxic fumes like Carbon Monoxide, Hydrocarbons, Sulfur Dioxide, Nitrogen Oxides, Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) etc. The particles less than 10 microns in size, enter deep into the recess of lungs and act as slow poisoning. These pollutants cause a variety of health problems like asthma, cancer, bronchial disorders, headaches, stress, nervous disorders, irritation, and cardiac problems etc. Slow moving vehicles and traffic jams result in partial burning of fuels and emission of more toxic gases. The surveys conducted by certain agencies indicate that 20% vehicles emit pollutants, more than the remaining 80% vehicles combined. It is also estimated that 50% of noxious pollutants is emitted by only 10% of vehicles. The vehicular pollution is no longer just an intangible threat to Hyderabad Metro as the number of vehicles and consequent respiratory diseases are rapidly increasing.           

The SPM levels at all major traffic junctions in Hyderabad are higher than permissible levels. These figures are also published in some newspapers. The ambient air quality of twin-cities being shown in "Pollution Watch" on Star News Channel, appears to be far from ground realities and is likely to create a feeling of complacency, particularly with regard to SPM levels. The State Pollution Control Board, which is monitoring ambient air quality, through a number of monitoring stations at selected locations having high traffic densities, is reported to have recorded from January to June 2000 average SPM level of about 400 against permissible level of 200. Similarly average respiratory SPM level, less than 10 micron, of about 160 has been recorded against safe permissible level of 100.

With the present growth rate, the vehicular population of Hyderabad is expected to cross 20 lakh (2 million) by 2010, having serious implications on emissions and quality of life. The sheer volume of vehicular traffic will throw emission control exercise out of gear. Therefore, the emphasis needs to shift to avoidance-oriented approach, rather than supply oriented one for vehicular emission control. The concept of mixed land uses, in urban planning and development, can reduce the need of commuting, saving transport fuel consumption and consequently keeping air pollution from auto emissions within safe limits. The commuting needs of the public will have to be met by high volume and low polluting public transport system. This can be achieved by utilizing the existing Railway network in the city and within a radius of 30km or so and by providing efficient public Bus transport services connecting to railway network.

It is more than three years since A.P. High Court in its judgment in W.P.No 7755 0f 1997 observed " We state in no uncertain terms that the respondents (State Govt.) shall be failing in the discharge of their duties if they would not endow sufficient consideration to pollution control and delay in taking steps for such control measures which are essential". But unfortunately the response of the State administration, in spite of various communications to Hon'ble Chief Minister, Transport Minister, Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary (Transport), Principal Secretary (Environment) etc, has been lukewarm on the subject.
Breathing foul air: Pollution-related ailments on the rise Courtesy: The Hindu
       In view of the impending serious threat to the quality of life of the citizens due to air pollution, which is contemplated by the Right to Life, inherent in Art.21 of the Constitution of India, and to give effect to the Directive Principle for protecting and improving the environment, under Article 48A of the Constitution, it is the time for civic rage, as well as civic education, but also the time to force the State administration to act and take steps for control of automobile pollution as directed by A.P. High Court. Some of the measures to be initiated in this direction are-

-To identify and phase out the Government and Transport vehicles fitted with engines older than 15 years by 2, October 2001 and 12 year & 9 year old ones by 2002 and 2005 respectively.

-All new 4 wheeler passenger vehicles, private and commercial, to be registered by the cut off date to be specified, should meet the Bharat Stage-2 (Euro-2) norms.

-All existing vehicles fitted with engines older than 15 years are to be phased out in a given time frame.

-All two-stroke engine vehicles in use should be converted to approved clean/alternate fuels namely LPG/CNG latest by 31-3-2002 or to be phased out age-wise every year latest by 2005. Stop Registering two-stroke engine vehicles from 2nd October 2001.

Those who are interested in reacting to the problem of rising vehicular pollution may please communicate your views to the Chief Secretary, Government of Andhra Pradesh through  E-mail: cs@ap.gov.in