The Delhi government’s move to tax heavy diesel vehicles at state entry points every night to cut pollution may prove to be a non-starter as civic authorities say it may not be feasible to implement, jeopardising revenues of about Rs 1,500 crore the administration was hoping to raise through the exercise.
More than 50,000 heavy vehicles enter Delhi each night and the Aam Aadmi Party government’s budget proposed a Rs 100 to Rs 1,500 entry fee depending on the type of vehicle, hoping to curb pollution and shore up revenues meant to be ploughed back into the state transport system.
“At a meeting with the MCD to chalk out the modalities, corporation officials told us it might not be feasible in their current system. We are looking into the matter and hope to resolve it soon,” a senior Delhi government official said.
Not ready to give up on the move, the government was still trying to work out ways to roll it out, sources said. “We have conveyed to the Delhi government that the tax collection might not be feasible owing to the current system we have,” a senior MCD official said.
“We have already allotted the work of toll collection to a concessionaire and follow a fixed system. The toll collector gives us a total of Rs 511 crore for five years irrespective of whether he makes more or less than that. We will have to collect fee separately for the government and there is a different fee structure too.”
Several issues would have to be addressed if at all the civic agency would collect the fee, corporation officials told the government. Among these issues are a lack of clarity over the handling of manual toll gates and whether separate receipts would be issued for the tax.
“Considering we get a fixed amount we don’t keep a tab on the number of vehicles that pass through the gates,” a senior official said.
The issue was also discussed at a meeting of various department heads chaired by deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia who delineated plans to deploy the additional resources raised through the tax on improving public transport facilities and installing weighbridges to monitor the weight of vehicles.