Commercial vehicles entering Delhi will now have to pay more, with the National Green Tribunal imposing an “environmental compensation charge” over and above the municipal toll tax.
Taking note of the large number of vehicles entering Delhi everyday, a four-member bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar on Wednesday held that harsh measures were needed to ensure that “non-destined vehicles” passing through Delhi to other areas, would be kept out of the city.
“It will be in our considered view, appropriate to direct the check-posts to charge transport heavy vehicles entering Delhi as their final destination or en route to other places entering from Sonipat to pay environmental compensation in addition to toll tax payable,” said the bench, after noting that there were 124 entry points to the city from all sides, though the Kundli border was the sole entry point from the Sonipat-Panipat region. The NGT, for now, directed that the “non-destined commercial vehicles that merely transit through Delhi” shall be diverted at Panipat to take alternative route via NH-71A and NH-71 and exit at Bawal in Haryana.
“The trucks which are not destined to Delhi and have not taken alternative route would not be permitted to enter the capital and would be returned to Panipat to take alternative route,” the Tribunal said.
For commercial vehicles entering Delhi, an extra charge of Rs 700 would be charged from those with 2 axles (taxis and small trucks) and Rs 1,000 would be charged from those with three axles and Rs 500 would be charged from vehicles with 4 axles and above (large truck-trailers), it said.
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“The amount collected shall be used by the Pollution Control Committee and the Central Pollution Control Board for measures to protect the environment,” said the bench.
DCP (Traffic), appearing before the court, said that as per the data collected by the police and MCD officials, over 66,000 vehicles were entering the city everyday. The bench, however, also noted that it had taken up the issue of vehicular pollution “in the NCR and not just in Delhi proper.” The bench has also asked the transport officials to “coordinate with your counterparts in UP, Haryana and Rajasthan” to come up with means to control the movement of diesel vehicles in the National Capital Region.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for NHAI, told the Tribunal that work has been awarded on the Eastern Peripheral Expressway and it would start shortly. The bench directed the Haryana government to “speed up” and operationalise the proposed ‘Western Expressway.”
The tribunal has also given directions to Joint Commissioner of Police-level officers of Delhi, UP and Haryana to “map alternative routes” between NCR areas.
During the hearing, the Delhi Police also mentioned about the pollution caused due to traffic snarls at Aurobindo Marg between AIIMS and Mehrauli, as well as on Vikas Marg. The bench, for now, asked the traffic police to “file an application” giving suggestions to decongest the roads, which would then be considered and finalised by the tribunal.