Vehicles older than 15 years will soon have to pay a “green tax” to ply on Jharkhand’s roads.
The Jharkhand transport department is preparing a draft to tax old vehicles, commercial as well as private, officials said on Monday.
A green tax or environmental tax is imposed on goods whose repeated use contributes to pollution. The department has decided to impose the tax to minimise the number of old vehicles and curb air pollution.
“A team of officials is studying the model of green tax of other states and preparing a draft. If everything moves on the dotted line, the draft will be submitted to the government for approval by June,” state transport commissioner Sandeep Singh said.
Singh said the tax rate was yet to be determined but it would be much higher for commercial vehicles than for private ones.
In Jharkhand, the registration fee is Rs 100 for two-wheelers, Rs 200 for four-wheelers and Rs 600 for buses and trucks, excluding a one-time tax that ranges from 3-5% of the vehicle’s price depending on the seating capacity. The registration fee remains unchanged during re-registration after 15 years but the tax goes down to 2% for all vehicles for the next five years.
In Kanpur, 10% of a one-time tax paid at the time of the first registration is charged during re-registration as environmental tax, officials said.
Jharkhand has witnessed more than 60% growth in the number of registered vehicles over the past five years, increasing pollution levels in the state. A recent environment audit report on air pollution by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), tabled in the Jharkhand assembly during the budget session, states that the situation is the worst in Ranchi, Dhanbad, Jamshedpur and Hazaribag.
The report said in 2014, Dhanbad and Hazaribag recorded RSPM of 218.13 and 118.46 micrograms per cubic metre of air while Jamshedpur and Ranchi recorded RSPM at 170.16 and 217 micrograms per cubic metre against the NAAQS-fixed limit of 100.
Pollution has begun to take its toll on people’s health.
“There has been a more than 15% increase in the number of tuberculosis and asthma patients across the state due to pollution,” said Dr AK Singh, president of the Jharkhand chapter of the Indian Medical Association.
Owners of old vehicles, however, expressed mixed views over the proposed tax.
“If 10% green tax is imposed, vehicle owners would replace old vehicles with new ones,” said Rajkumar Singh, owner of a four-wheel commercial vehicle.
However, Chanchal Chatterjee, proprietor of Chanchal Bus, said, “I will go for re-registration and ply my buses out of the city.”