Private toll company seeks to be spared environment levy collection

New Delhi, Oct 27 (IANS) The SMYR Consortium LLP, that collects toll for Delhi Municipal Corporation at 125 entry points to the city, on Tuesday sought an early hearing of its plea seeking to be spared responsibility of taking the Environment Compensation Charge (ECC) on commercial vehicles entering the capital in course of their onward journey.

A bench of Chief Justice H.L.Dattu and Justice Arun Mishra said that they would hear the matter after senior counsel Shyam Divan mentioned the plea before the bench for an early hearing.

The ECC collection will commence from November 1.

Lawyer Jatin Zaveri who has filed the plea for the SMYR Consortium said that they have sought to discharged from the task of collecting ECC as it involves additional burden of work.

In an attempt to curb the commercial vehicles contributing to the already alarming air pollution, the apex court had on October 12 imposed an ECC of Rs.700 on light vehicles and 2 axle trucks and Rs.1,300 on 3 and 4 axle trucks entering the national capital in the course of their onward journey.

The ECC that would be imposed for four months on experimental basis would come into force from November 1 and would remain in force till February 29, 2016.

The court had said that charge would be collected by the toll operators without any deduction and handed over to the Delhi government on every Friday.

The amount so collected ought to be exclusively used for augmenting public transport and improving roads, particularly for most vulnerable users, that is, cyclists and pedestrians in Delhi, the court order had said.

The court order on imposing the levy had came as it noted that about 23 percent of the commercial vehicles and 40-60 percent of the heavy trucks entering Delhi were not destined for Delhi, and were only enttering the city to avoid the alternative NH 71 and NH 71A connecting Rewari to Panipat via Jhajjar and Rohtak as they are toll roads.

Passenger vehicles and ambulances, vehicles carrying essential commodities like food stuffs and oil tankers entering Delhi would be exempted from paying ECC.

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