Three days after commercial vehicles entering Delhi were first asked to pay a ‘green tax’, municipal officials said on Monday that the Environment Compensation Charge may be causing the number of vehicles to fall.
As per orders of the Supreme Court, the private toll tax collection agency that operates the 127 border entry points in the Capital started collecting Rs.700 and Rs.1,300 as ECC from commercial vehicles from November 6 midnight. That was six days later than the court’s November 1 deadline.
Though huge traffic jams were seen on the first day, Sunday and Monday were relatively better at the borders. A senior official of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, which is the nodal agency for toll tax collection, said that was because the number of commercial vehicles had fallen.
“The collections of the ECC have been about Rs. 1.25 crore per day, but the toll tax collection could go down if trucks start avoiding going through Delhi in order to avoid paying the extra green tax,” said the official.
The SDMC could not confirm the decline in vehicles as there were system issues with the contractor’s software on Monday, said another senior official.
If the number of vehicles does indeed fall, the Supreme Court’s order would have achieved what it had set out to – decrease vehicular pollution by discouraging trucks that pass through the Capital, but are not destined for it.
The toll tax contractor won’t be too happy with that as it’s revenue would fall and it would have to make additional arrangements to collect ECC, something which it had pointed out in an application filed in the Supreme Court. The matter will be heard on November 16.
Meanwhile, the municipal corporations’ contract for toll tax had come under scrutiny. The SDMC had commissioned a survey on the number of cars entering Delhi by the Sriram Institute for Industrial Research, which had set the minimum reserve price for the contract at Rs.1,574 crore. However, the contract was finally given for Rs.541 crore per year as the reserve price.