After six days of refusal and bargaining on financial terms, the concessionaire employed by South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) finally agreed to levy a new 'green tax ' on trucks coming into Delhi. SMYR Consortium LLP, which collects toll at all 127 entry points into the city, agreed to charge the additional 'Environment Compensation Charge' (ECC) from Friday night itself.
The Supreme Court had ordered that Rs 700-1300 be charged as green tax on all light commercial vehicles and heavy goods trucks that enter Delhi but are not destined for the Capital from November 1.
However, the same was not being implemented with SMYR Consortium LLP fearing fewer trucks that enter Delhi and, hence, it will be a loss-making deal for the firm.
The financial negotiations and points of settlement between SDMC and the consortium were not clear immediately. But SDMC spokesperson, Mukesh Yadav, confirmed to MAIL TODAY, "Yes, the firm has agreed to collect the environment tax. The details are not available with me."
The concessionaire's representative, Kishor Agrawal, could not be reached for comment.
South Delhi Municipal Corporation is nodal agency to collect toll tax on behalf of all the three municipal corporations in Delhi.
Lawyers, environmentalists and doctors - who had long been pushing for such a move - hailed it as the first victory in the war on pollution.
Anumita Roychowdhury, Head of Air Pollution Control Campaign at Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said, "This was a critical priority measure and is, now, a big leap for Delhi in the right direction. It also shows that such tough measures can be brought into implementation."
Trucks are responsible for more than one-third of air pollution in the city. An estimated 40,000 of them enter Delhi daily. About 13,000 just use Delhi as a transit route as the Delhi municipal corporation toll road rates are only 30 per cent of national highway charges.
The Supreme Court appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) had also convened a high-level meeting recently to iron out the issues between SDMC and SMYR Consortium.
Advocate Prerna Kumari, who has been appearing in the Supreme Court in the case, also welcomed the development. At the same time she cautioned, "They have agreed in principle but uninterrupted implementation is most important."