SC agrees to charge Rs 1,300 from polluting trucks

In abid to reduce the capital's high air pollution levels, the Supreme Court reservethe order levying of a pollution tax of Rs 1,300 on heavy trucks and Rs 700 onlight commercial vehicles to deter the smoke-spewing vehicles from entering thecity. The court would pronounce the order on Monday, "We will examine itseffect on the pollution front after four months and hear all parties forfurther improvement and fine-tuning of the order if need be," it said. The levy will be collected by the existing tollbooths at the 127 entry points to Delhi from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh andRajasthan. This will be the second most significantanti-pollution intervention on the part of the apex court to help improve theambient air quality in the national capital after 1998, when it had directedconversion of the entire city transport fleet — buses, taxis, auto-rickshawsand trucks — to switch to cleaner CNG fuel. With SCengaging with Delhi's critically high air pollution levels, seen to poseserious health concerns, amicus curiae Harish Salve presented the outline ofthe levy proposal to a bench of Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justices ArunMishra and Adarsh K Goel. The proposal was arrived at after Salve helddiscussions with solicitor general Ranjit Kumar on behalf of the Centre andsenior advocate Dushyant Dave for Delhi government. The court intends to slap the anti-pollution levyon trucks using diesel as fuel and not on those using cleaner CNG. The levywould be payable by all diesel-run trucks whether they use Delhi roads astransit routes or enter the capital to deliver goods. The court said it would also exempt passengerbuses and mini vans, emergency vehicles and those carrying essentialcommodities - food grains, fruits, milk, vegetables, all kinds of food stuffsand oil tankers - from the pollution levy.

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