Green tax puts brakes on toxic trucks entering Delhi
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Green tax puts brakes on toxic trucks entering Delhi

This has also resulted in reduction in toll tax collection by nearly 30 per cent as a large number of trucks, not destined to Delhi, have been taking alternate routes to reach states like Uttar Pradesh.

  • New Delhi,  November 17, 2015  
  • |  
  • UPDATED   08:14 IST
Green tax puts brakes on toxic trucks entering Delhi
This has also resulted in reduction in toll tax collection by nearly 30 per cent. (Photo: Mail Today)

Even as authorities in Delhi have collectively failed to collect pollution tax from trucks entering the Capital, the very prospect of paying tax appears to have done the trick.

Delhi has reported a decline in number of polluting trucks entering the city essentially to avoid paying tax. However, the MCD-appointed toll contractor said this has also resulted in reduction in toll tax collection by nearly 30 per cent as a large number of trucks, not destined to Delhi, have been taking alternate routes to reach states like Uttar Pradesh and Haryana without touching the borders of Delhi.

As toll tax collection reduced significantly, toll contractor SMYR consortium on Monday appealed before the Supreme Court to recall its order as it expressed inability to make the collections citing several problems including financial losses. Contending before the Bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu, the company said the court should not have passed such an order without giving it a hearing as it had several financial repercussions.

With collection of Rs 4.32 crore in the first week of the collection of the green tax, the toll operator deposited Rs 7.30 crore instead of Rs 11 crore as the weekly toll tax. "After we started collecting green tax, there is an approximately 30 per cent reduction in the flow of vehicles passing through the toll," said Kishor Agrawal, partner in SMYR Consortium LLP, the MCD toll operator. On the other hand, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation that has taken the responsibility for collecting the toll tax for all the three corporations is worried with the sudden reduction.

"We have received approximately Rs 4 crore less than what we were earlier getting as the regular toll tax. As the tax comprises maximum share in the revenue generation, reduction in the amount would hamper the productivity of the civic agency," said Radhey Shyam Sharma, chairman, Standing Committee, SDMC. Meanwhile, the contractor urged the court to recall its October 9 order for levy of Rs 700 and Rs 1,300 from commercial vehicles or allow it to opt out of the tax collection job.

The submissions came after the bench took serious note of SMYR's refusal to collect environment compensation charge from November 1 to 6 and threatened contempt of court action if it continued to do so. "From newspaper reports we came to know that from November 1 to November 6 no tax was collected. We are seeing highest pollution in Delhi. People dread to go out. If contractors disobey our order we will initiate contempt proceedings against them. We are taking these steps to save Delhi and the people of Delhi," said Dattu.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan who appeared for SMYR alleged that the levy was beyond the terms of agreement entered between it and the civic body. "The minimum requirement in the interest of natural justice was that we should have been heard before the tax was imposed. It is not possible for me to commercially continue toll collection. Pollution may be reduced but not at my cost. A huge burden and obligation has been imposed on me without hearing my side", he said.

"If these clauses were there earlier, I would not have perhaps bid for the tender and accepted the contract. Let some others come in for the job. I won't mind… Leave me out of it. I don't want to take up the responsibility. I better I opt out," said Divan. SMYR claimed they had no power to collect the tax and that their employees refused to do so, fearing violence from angry truckers.

(In Association with Mail Today)