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Must try congestion tax, court tells state

The division bench has asked the government to consider imposing tax on vehicles entering a congested area during peak hours, reports HT Correspondent.

india Updated: Jun 11, 2009 00:26 IST
HT Correspondent

“Why are you so averse to experimenting?” Justice Bilal Nazki asked the Maharashtra government which is still mulling over implementation of the Traffic Restrain Scheme (TRS) to decongest city roads.

The division bench of Justice Nazki and Justice V.K. Tahilramani on Wednesday asked the government to consider implementing the TRS — that also suggests imposing tax on vehicles entering a congested area during peak hours — in a particular locality for a month.

Government pleader S.K. Nair has to tell the court on June 24 whether the government is willing to experiment with the scheme.

He argued that the existing public transport system — the alternate means of commuting in the city — is not adequate to make it easy for people to travel.

In 2000, a committee headed by the then transport commissioner V.M. Lal had come up with 100 ways to reduce vehicular pollution in Mumbai.

As the government failed to take any action on it, Bombay Environmental Action Group, a non-governmental organisation, filed a public interest litigation in 2003 asking for its implementation.

“If 90 per cent of people (those who use public transport) suffer while commuting, why should the remaining 10 per cent not suffer just once in a week,” asked Nazki. “Let the 10 per cent suffer and learn.”

The court said it was asking the government to implement the scheme only in one area. “[The scheme] may succeed or it may fail. Our discussion is not going to solve any problem. Experiment it for a month and then tell us how it goes. Then we will decide what to do,” he said.