SC firm on environment levy collection from November 1

New Delhi, Oct 30 (IANS) The collection of environment compensation charge (ECC) from commercial vehicles entering Delhi from 127 entry points will commence from midnight of October 31 as the Supreme Court refused on Friday to postpone the date from November 1 to December 1.

A bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy, while directing hearing of the plea by toll collector SMYR Consortium Ltd seeking postponement of the toll collection from November 1 to December 1, said that the collections would commence from November 1 as directed earlier on October 9.

Appearing for SMYR Consortium Ltd, senior counsel Shyam Divan urged the court to postpone the collection citing difficulties that needed to be sorted out before commencing work.

SMYR Consortium Ltd collects toll on behalf of three of Delhi’s civic bodies on 125 entry point except for Badarpur and NOIDA toll.

However, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for North Delhi Municipal Corporation, opposed the plea for postponement saying the collection of ECC was for larger public good and could not be postponed for some difficulties of SMYR Consortium Ltd.

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.

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 order had come as the court 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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