The Supreme Court Monday ordered imposition of ‘Environment Compensation Charge’ to the tune of Rs 700 on light duty vehicles and Rs 1,300 for three-axle vehicles and above, entering Delhi from November 1.
A bench led by Chief Justice H L Dattu said this levy will be in addition to the toll tax and the amount will be handed over to the Delhi government by toll operators.
The court order will remain in force for four months on an “experimental basis” and the Delhi government has been asked to issue a notification in this regard.
The top court asked the governments of adjoining states such as Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan to provide large-size billboards at the exit points towards the alternative highways to inform commercial traffic of the diversions.
“The said governments will take steps to ensure that commercial traffic having destination other than Delhi use alternative routes. The said governments will also ensure that in the course of implementation of this order, traffic jams and other inconvenience to the public is avoided,” directed the bench.
It further asked the Delhi government to issue advertisements to inform commercial traffic of the bypass routes and the information about the imposition of the additional charge required to be paid for entry into Delhi.
To review the mechanism, the bench posted the matter for further consideration in the third week of February. The bench, also comprising Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Adarsh K Goel, however, said passenger buses, vehicles carrying essential commodities, food articles and ambulances would be exempted from paying the ‘environment compensation charge’.
Taking note of a Centre for Science and Environment study that about 23 per cent of the commercial vehicles and 40-60 per cent of heavy trucks entering the city were not destined for Delhi, the court said it was necessary to impose the charges, along with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) toll, to equalize the difference in cost in travelling through alternative routes.
A similar order was issued by the National Green Tribunal last week but the apex court held that orders by every other forum will merge into its order and henceforth, no other forum will entertain petitions relating to this issue.
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