For commuters heading towards central and old Delhi, prudence will lie in leaving their vehicles at home and switching instead to public transport. In the name of decongesting several parts of the city, the MCD has proposed a new tax named the ‘congestion tax’ for those using stretches of central and old Delhi between 8am and 9pm.
While car owners will have to shell out Rs 150 per day, those using two-wheelers will have to pay Rs 50 per trip. However, residents of these areas will not have to pay this charge.
This tax will be in addition to the enhanced parking charges for your vehicle. The congestion charges will be applicable even on vehicles that just pass through the mentioned areas.
“We are trying to reduce congestion in these areas because these stretches are used by a lot of people and traffic often comes to a grinding halt,” said KS Mehra, municipal commissioner.
There are also numerous office complexes in these areas, which will also be affected by the plan. This move has drawn flak from Delhiites.
“The civic agency was supposed to chalk out and implement plans to decongest Old and central Delhi and it has failed to do so. To hide its own failure, it is now trying to burden the common man. We travel to office daily and paying this tax every day is too much to expect of us,” said Mohit Verma, a resident of Saket, who travels to ITO.
While the MCD was supposed to come up with a decongestion plan for the city zone, Karol Bagh zone and Sadar-Paharganj zone which include areas such as Chandni Chowk, Daryanganj and ITO among others, it has failed to act upon it even several years after the Masterplan of Delhi 2021 came into force.
JK Sharma, the leader of Opposition in the MCD said, “In 2007, when the BJP came to power, they had promised they won’t impose any new tax. Now, they are bringing in this congestion tax which makes no sense. There’s no respite for the common man.”
Brushing aside these criticisms, Mehra said this move will help keep a check on congestion and will promote the use of public transport.
“Even I use the Metro to commute at times and this is a good way of promoting the use of public transport among Delhiites. Cities such as London and have already adopted this policy to discourage the use of private vehicles and reduce traffic congestion,” said Mehra.
The MCD department is preparing a detailed report on it. The modalities of collecting this tax are still being worked out.
The MCD will notify the road stretches where the tax will be imposed and the residents and property owners of those stretches will be exempted from paying the tax.