South Delhi Municipal Corporation’s (SDMC) toll contractor (SMYR Consortium LLP) did not collect environment compensation charge (ECC) on commercial vehicles entering Delhi despite it being mandated by the Supreme Court (SC).
In October, the Supreme Court (SC) had imposed ECC ranging from Rs 700 to Rs 1,300 on commercial vehicles entering Delhi, in addition to the toll tax. The tax had to be levied – beginning 1 November 2015 – for four months on a trial basis. The tax is an attempt to check if high pollution levels in the city can be brought down if commercial vehicles avoid passing Delhi. The tax is expected to be a deterrent for them.
However, on 1 November, SDMC’s toll contractor SMYR Consortium LLP did not collect the additional levy at any of the toll booths in Delhi. In a letter to the SDMC on 30 October, the contractor referred to the tax collection as ‘an impossible task’, given its staff’s field experience. It also cited the issue of the staff’s personal safety at the toll plazas.
In response, the SDMC said non-compliance would be considered as wilful defiance of the order and the contractual obligations on the part of the contractor, and that they would be liable for contempt of court in that eventuality.
In a meeting of the Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) on 31 October, officials of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh had been directed to install billboards at all entry and exit points into and from Delhi by 10 November.
In the same meeting, the Delhi traffic police presented a map showing alternative routes around Delhi. There is another EPCA meeting scheduled on 4 November regarding the non-collection of the green tax.
According to the EPCA’s report on trucks entering Delhi, submitted in the SC by its amicus curiae Harish Salve, light and heavy-duty vehicles alone are responsible for 30 per cent of Delhi’s air pollution.