A compensation charge will be imposed at the rate of R700 for light-duty vehicles and two-axle trucks. Three- and four-axle trucks would be charged Rs 1,300
Stating that controlling Delhi’s pollution has become the “requirement of the day”, the Supreme Court on Friday indicated that it will impose an environment compensatory charge (ECC) ranging between Rs 700 to Rs 1,300 on all commercial vehicles entering the national capital as a transit route for their onward journey to neighbouring states.
The bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu said it will pass a formal order on Monday. However, it clarified that commercial vehicles carrying essential commodities, food stuff, passengers and emergency vehicles including ambulances, would be exempted from the cess. The green tax would be collected by the toll operator and handed over to the Delhi government without any deduction on a weekly basis. The money collected would be used by the Delhi government to augment public transport and roads, particularly vulnerable users like cyclists and pedestrians. The government will furnish accounts of receipts to the Supreme Court on a weekly basis.
The judges also said that Monday’s order would supercede all earlier orders on the issue, including the October 7 order by the National Green Tribunal imposing a similar cess on polluting trucks entering Delhi.
While the pollution charge would be collected from all 127 entry points into Delhi, the bench said that it will be done on an experimental basis for four months and is also subject to modification after that.
The series of directions to regulate the entry of trucks into Delhi to combat air pollution was drafted by amicus curiae and senior advocate Harish Salve, in consultation with solicitor-general Ranjit Kumar for the Centre and senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for the Delhi government. According to the note, a compensation charge will be imposed at the rate of R700 for light duty vehicles and two-axle trucks. Three- and four-axle trucks would be charged R1,300. Vehicles carrying essential commodities — food grains, milk, vegetables and oil tankers — won’t be required to pay the cess and the NCT of Delhi will ensure that the exemption is not abused.
The Delhi government also told the court that it would give wide publicity to the directions of the court. The Delhi government will ensure checks and supervision through checkpoints. It will take the help of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to oversee and inform the court about the exact number of vehicles entering Delhi. The Delhi government would also be required to install CCTV cameras for better implementation of the levy of the pollution cess.
The direction also said that private toll tax operators should install radio frequency identity systems at their own cost at all 127 points. This facility should be installed in nine main entry points which sees 75% commercial traffic by November 2015. CCTVS too have to be installed in the same nine points.
Governments in neighbouring states — Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan —would have to cooperate with the Delhi government to ensure appropriate implementation. The state governments have also been directed to provide large billboards at exit points towards the alternative highways in their respective territories to inform commercial traffic of the diversions that they should take.