Pay or perish. That’s the state government’s message to old vehicles contributing to the pollution levels in an already-choked city.
The state cabinet on Wednesday approved the transport department’s proposal of levying green tax on ‘old’ vehicles.
Public and private vehicles, which are eight and 15-years-old, respectively will have to pay green tax between Rs200-400 every year. The tax on 15-year-old two-wheelers and cars which run on petrol would be Rs2,000 and Rs3,000 for five years, respectively. The five-year tax on diesel cars would be Rs3,500.
Auto rickshaws with a road life of eight years (15 years, if running on CNG) will have to pay Rs750 as green tax for five years whereas the amount for four, five, and six-seater taxis for the same period would be Rs1,250. Heavy vehicles acting as passenger buses and goods carriers will have to shell out between 2.5-10% of the annual tax.
The government expects to earn Rs125 crore annually through green tax. The transport department wants the amount to be used for the betterment of the environment, strengthening of public transport offices and the setting up of air monitoring units.
Transport officials have welcomed the state’s decision. “Based on a petition filed by a citizen’s forum, the Supreme Court had directed governments to make vehicle owners take precautions or pay for the pollution caused because of their cars,” a transport department official said. “Vehicles manufactured before 1995 are not fit to fulfil the criterion of Bharat IV - the standard set for vehicles to control pollution.”
The state has written to the Centre to fix the life of private and public vehicles to ensure pollution remains under check. There are 1.55 crore vehicles registered in the state. Out of these, 15 lakh cars are public transport vehicles more than eight years old. There are six lakh private vehicles with a road life of 15 years.