onfusion over implementation of the Supreme Court-ordered environment compensation charge (ECC) on commercial vehicles entering Delhi persisted for a second day on Monday, with the tax contractor not collecting the additional amount.
The Supreme Court had on October 12 ordered the private toll collection concessionaire to collect Rs. 700 from light commercial vehicles and Rs. 1,300 from vehicles with three axles or more from November 1.
But on Sunday and Monday, the contractor, SMYR Consortium, failed to do so citing operational and financial implications. The consortium, which is in a three-year contract with the municipal corporations of Delhi, had filed an application in the apex court on October 27 expressing its inability to collect the ECC.
Bhure Lal, chairperson of the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), who was tasked with monitoring the implementation of the order, said the contractor was in contempt of court.
“We have fixed a meeting of all stakeholders, including the Delhi government and the municipal corporations, on Wednesday to come up with solutions to the contractor’s problems. They may have excuses or real problems,” he said. On Monday, Kishore Aggarwal, a partner in SMYR Consortium, said they had informed the court of their concerns and the matter would be heard on November 16.
“Apart from other issues, our staff on the ground are reluctant to collect the extra charge. People try to evade paying toll; so what if they do the same with the ECC? Our staff don’t want to be held responsible for loss of government revenue,” said Mr. Aggarwal.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government at a meeting convened by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Monday took a strict view of what a senior government official termed were ‘frivolous excuses by the concessionaire’ for not being able to impose the green tax on commercial vehicles transiting Delhi.
The Delhi government also wrote to the EPCA expressing what a senior official termed was ‘solidarity with the cause’ and stating that it was willing to assist the pollution watchdog ‘in any way required’ towards the enforcement of the ban.
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation, which manages the tax contract, wrote to the Delhi government on Sunday saying that the issues raised by the contractor did not pertain to the corporations.
(With inputs from Jatin Anand)
We have fixed a meeting of all stakeholders, including the Delhi government and the municipal corporations, on Wednesday to come up with solutions to the contractor’s problems