Don’t enter Delhi or pay ECC
In a mood to provide relief to lungs of the residents of Delhi, Supreme Court of India has imposed what it has called ‘Environment Compensation Charge’ (ECC) on non-Delhi bound commercial vehicles entering Delhi.
While the light vehicles have to pay ₹ 700, the heavy vehicles have to pay an ECC of ₹ 1300.
The charges which have to be collected through the toll operators, have to be handed over to the Government of NCT of Delhi which then has to furnish accounts of the receipts and the expenditure incurred to Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) and to the Supreme Court every quarter.
The bench headed by Chief Justice of India HL Dattu imposed the ECC on the joint suggestion of the court appointed amicus curiae – senior counsel Harish Salve, Solicitor General of India Ranjit Kumar and senior counsel Dushyant Dave. The order came to be passed in certain Applications filed in the 30-year old Writ Petition – MC Mehta v. Union of India.
Vehicles enter Delhi to avoid high toll tax
Court observed that even though there are alternative routes available, commercial traffic travelling from North India towards Jaipur and onwards, choose to go through Delhi to “save higher rate of toll tax in taking such alternative routes” and that “this traffic inflicts heavy cost on the health of the residents of Delhi”.
Hence, to tackle the situation, Court found it suitable to impose the ECC on on all light and heavy duty commercial vehicles.
ECC to be used for improving roads, public transport etc.
Court has observed that the ECC so collected ‘ought’ to be exclusively used for augmenting public transport and improving roads, particularly for most vulnerable users, that is, cyclists and pedestrians in Delhi.
Non-Delhi bound vehicles cause significant pollution in Delhi
Court referred to a report prepared by the EPCA, on “strategies to reduce air pollution from trucks entering and leaving Delhi”, according to which a study commissioned by the Centre for Science and Environment to M/s. V.R. Techniche Consultants Pvt. Ltd. shows that the commercial vehicles entering Delhi spew close to 30 per cent of the total particulate load and 22 per cent of the total nitrogen oxide load from the transport sector. Further, about 23 per cent of the commercial vehicles and 40-60 per cent of the heavy trucks entering Delhi were not destined for Delhi. NH 71 and NH 71A are toll roads connecting Rewari to Panipat via Jhajjar and Rohtak and this alternative route obviates the need to travel through Delhi.
Hence, apart from the MCD toll, Court found it necessary to impose ECC to equalize the difference in cost in travelling through alternative routes.
| Vehicle Category
|Category 2 (light duty vehicles etc.) and
Category 3 (2 axle trucks)
|Category 4 (3 axle trucks) and
Category 5 (4 axle trucks and above)
The imposition of ECC has been exempted for:
- Passenger vehicles and ambulances
- On vehicles carrying essential commodities, that is, food stuffs and oil tankers.
Other states to show alternative roads
Court has asked the governments neighbouring states of Delhi – Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan to provide large size bill boards at the exit points towards the alternative highways to inform commercial traffic of the diversions. These governments will have to take steps to ensure that commercial traffic having destination other than Delhi use alternative routes. However they have to ensure that in course of implementation of the order, traffic jams and other inconvenience to the public is avoided.
Further the Government of NCT of Delhi has been asked to issue advertisements to inform commercial traffic of the bypass routes and the information about the imposition of the ECC required to be paid for entry into Delhi.
The necessary infrastructure for such ECC collection has to be put in place by the toll collectors at their own cost.
Delhi Govt to install CCTV at entry points
Government of NCT of Delhi has also been asked to install its own CCTV cameras at 127 entry points to Delhi and also organise surprise visits to oversee the collection of ECC and other necessary arrangements.
Experimental for four months
Court has asked the Government of NCT of Delhi to issue an appropriate notification to levy the aforesaid charge forthwith which will be operative for a period of four months starting from November 1, 2015 to February 29, 2016, on an experimental basis.
Court has also clarified that this order will override any order to the contrary by any authority.
Read the complete order here: