The breath of death: Imposing pollution taxes on non-Delhi vehicles only? The ‘DL’ ones are the real offenders!

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Our National capital is killing 80 people every day with its air quality! What can be scarier? Well, this is: Delhi will have world’s largest number of premature death by 2015!

The honourable Supreme Court, agreeing to impose ‘environment compensation charge’ on all light and heavy-duty commercial vehicles entering Delhi from all 127 entering points, from Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, may have delivered bad justice.

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Over 1500 cars are added on Delhi’s roads every day! This swelling population of Delhi vehicles surpasses the level of pollution that enters the capital from all the three States put together. It’s possibly a selective initiative by the SC-approved AAP enterprise.

Every vehicle that plies the roads of Delhi must pay the price for bringing us closer to end. Whether it’s foreign-borne or home-bred, responsibility must be equally distributed. With highest respect, holding only the outsider accountable, punishable by penalty, is a myopic view.

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The foreigners, bearing the brunt, will be charged Rs. 700 for light-duty vehicles and Rs. 1300 for three and four axle trucks. The Supreme Court directed the neighbouring state governments to fall in line, and coordinate with the Delhi government.

Buses account for 50 per cent of transport and are taxed higher than private cars, despite private cars being responsible themselves to contribute deadly amounts of pollution. So, instead of promoting public transport, our policies seem to discourage it!

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Oil tankers, passenger buses, ambulances and trucks carrying some foodstuffs will not have to pay up, the court added. In other words, it means all these vehicles don’t spread pollution. Whatever the reasons may be, humanitarian or otherwise, like allowing essential items to pass… pollution is pollution, it doesn’t become less toxic coming from some selected categories of transport.

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Although it’s being done on experimental basis, to see how impactful such a move could be, it should have been more inclusive, still.

What’s the point in such half-cooked policies?… Although we all hope that this SC-stamped temporary law proves to be an indication to where the real solution lies.

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