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Green tax, festive rush and extra security leave Delhi jammed

Commercial vehicle drivers, caught unaware of Supreme Court’s imposition of an ‘environment tax’, remained stranded on National Highway-8 in Gurgaon for around five hours which led to a massive traffic jam in the area on Saturday.

gurgaon Updated: Nov 08, 2015 00:09 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times
Traffic jam,NH-8,Supreme Court
Traffic jam at South-Extension market area in New Delhi on Saturday. (Ravi Choudhary/ HT Photo)

Large parts of Delhi and the NCR saw huge tailbacks spread across miles and lasting several hours on Friday night and Saturday as green tax collection began at border checkpoints and roads were thronged with shoppers on the weekend before Diwali.

Transport officials said traffic snarls were likely to continue over the coming fortnight until drivers of commercial diesel vehicles became aware of the green tax and the system was streamlined.

Commuters on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway were caught in a jam that originated at the Sirhaul toll plaza and stretched up to Rajiv Chowk in Gurgaon. The decision of the MCD concessionaire, SMYR Ltd, to collect the new tax from midnight led to a monster jam that lasted almost eight hours and had a ripple effect across the region.

“Despite deputing traffic officials at all the important exit points, the jams affected movement inside the city as well,” a senior Delhi Traffic Police official said.

Within hours of tax collection starting on NH-8, a long tailback was witnessed on the entire stretch up to Dhaula Kuan which continued on Sardar Patel Marg and the Ring Road towards AIIMS, Green Park and Moolchand. Routes between APS Colony and Dhaula Kuan were completely choked.

“I regretted not taking the Metro to go to Connaught Place from Janakpuri. I drove through Dhaula Kuan and it took me a harrowing two hours to get to my office whereas it usually takes about 40 minutes,” said Dheeraj Sehgal, a banker.

Transport officials plan to create a separate passage for vehicles carrying perishable items exempt from paying the green tax.

Roads along Gurgaon, Noida and Ghaziabad were choked on Friday night as trucks lined up at toll booths till early Saturday morning. Truckers complained they had not been informed of a new green tax and they stood at the booths negotiating with the collectors. Many tried to take U-turns from the border, creating a gridlock situation.

“I will naturally enquire about the new tax. We have been paying taxes but this new tax appeared as a surprise,” said Salim, a truck driver. Toll collectors had to check vehicles for perishable items before they could be exempted, which took much longer for vehicles to pass through.

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First Published: Nov 07, 2015 15:57 IST