The Government of India may be planning seamless travel from the National Capital Region (NCR) for foreign tourists heading in the direction of Agra in Uttar Pradesh and Jaipur in Rajasthan, but the ground situation is far from perfect.
As per a plan floated by the Union tourism ministry, ahead of Commonwealth Games, a tourist travelling out of Delhi, in a hired vehicle, should be able to pay all his taxes at one point and head towards his destination unhindered by winding toll plaza queues.
The ministry had suggested colour-coded passes, indicating the number of states the vehicle had already paid for visiting.
Unlike private vehicles, all tourist vehicles have to queue up with commercial vehicles for paying toll taxes and other dues.
“Tourist taxis pay their taxes in Delhi and the transport department transfers the money to the states concerned. They are issued stickers, with different colours for the number of states they are due to visit,” said said Delhi chief secretary Rakesh Mehta.
“Officials at toll plazas are supposed to identify them and let them pass. The system has been put into place about a month back,” he added.
The situation on the ground, however, is very different. It seems the coloured stickers would only recommend that “these private tourist vehicles are treated on priority” at toll plazas.
“As of now, we don't have a system in place for collecting taxes on behalf of other states. The sticker will give tourists priority at toll plazas," said Delhi transport commissioner R.K. Verma.
According to Delhi government officials, states like UP, Haryana and Rajasthan need taxes like the Passenger Tax to be submitted, for which tourist vehicles would have to line-up anyway.
“The stickers would ensure they are given priority, through shorter queues,” said Verma.
Teams of Delhi officials have been travelling on these routes over the last two months to ensure the ground level staff knows what to do with the stickers.
“It’s possible the message has not percolated to the ground level staff,” said Mehta.