News Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com
Delhi: Lack of revenue takes a toll, south corporation may make entry points free
News Source/Courtesy: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

NEW DELHI: Unable to earn the expected revenue from tax collected from commercial vehicles entering the city from the 124 toll plazas in the city, South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) is exploring the option of making entry free.

The issue was discussed in the standing committee meeting on Monday wherein the deliberative wing expressed unhappiness over the losses. “Toll tax is a major source of revenue for the three municipalities. If we are not getting anything, then what is the point of taking toll tax from the general public? Better we will make it free,” said SDMC leader of House Narendra Chawla.

“Since the matter of revenue collection is in court, we have directed officials to submit our point of view in the next hearing,” said Chawla.
In 2017, SDMC had signed an MoU for five years with the concessionaire for collecting toll tax and environmental compensation cess (ECC) for Rs 1,206 crore annually. However, the company started defaulting on payments in 2019.

“The concessionaire argued that the opening of the eastern and western peripheral expressways had led to a decline in toll collection. It took the matter to Delhi High Court where it got relief. It was told to submit Rs 20 crore every week with the corporation. But even that amount was not paid, especially during the pandemic,” the proposal mentioned.

A senior SDMC official said the company was currently paying Rs 1 crore per day. “To implement the standing committee’s proposal, we need the nod of the House. The other two corporations also have to pass the proposal. Then we will need to submit the argument in court. Moreover, since the company is collecting ECC too, we will need the Supreme Court’s approval,” he added.

During the lockdown, there was a major drop in the number of vehicles entering Delhi. “The toll collection came down to Rs 2.5-3 lakh per day because entry was restricted, except for vehicles carrying essential goods, a majority of whom had toll-free entry,” said the SDMC official.

Depending on the size and category, commercial vehicles have to pay ECC between Rs 700 and Rs 1,400 and toll between Rs 100 and Rs 2,000.

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News Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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