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Congress opposes toll tax hike; threatens stir

Tuesday, 1 July 2014 - 10:15pm IST | Agency: PTI

Opposition Congress in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation today threatened to launch an agitation if the toll tax hike for commercial vehicles entering Delhi, was not rolled back immediately and a fresh tender not issued within next 15 days.

The hike of 36.4% in the toll tax came into effect from today, and Congress councillor and Leader of the Opposition in the SDMC House Farhad Suri alleged that the new scheme was "causing huge losses" to the three municipal corporations. 

Currently, the collection of revenue of toll tax to the three corporations is Rs 26 crore per month (annual Rs 312 crore) and distributed as -- North Corporation (Rs 10 crore), South Corporation (Rs 10 crore) and East Corporation (Rs 6 crore). With the 36.4% hike, the total will go from Rs 312 crore to Rs 425.60 crore, and the share of SDMC would be Rs 13.64 crore, according to an official document released by the SDMC.

A study done by Shri Ram Institute for Industrial Research, which had suggested a basic reserve price of Rs 1574 crore per year, and with the 36.4% hike (Rs 1574 crore + Rs 572 crore = Rs 2146 crore), Suri claimed, the concessionaire, was supposed to pay on the basis of Rs 179 crore per month (annual Rs 2146 crore). 

And, thus the corporations were suffering a huge loss of "Rs 1721 crore", Suri alleged citing the study, and added the concessionaire's contract has been "legally extended", whereas the rates have been "illegally extended". 

"If the hike is not taken back immediately and a fresh tender is not issued within 15 days and also if the concessionaire is not made to pay to the corporations on the basis of the figures supplied by the Shri Ram Institute for Industrial Research (Rs 2146 crore or Rs 179 crore per month), the Congress party will launch an agitation and and appeal for CBI inquiry into the matter," Suri said in a statement.

Attacking the three BJP-led civic bodies, he said that anticipatory approval were sought from the three mayors in the matter, which was not in the provision of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, and therefore he claimed, the extension had "no validity" in the eyes of law.

"The BJP talked of 'acche din' (good days). Now, they are burdening the people of Delhi with tax hikes, these are the good days," he said.

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