Nongovernmental organisation Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has welcomed a proposal to increase taxes on diesel cars in order to reduce pollution in Delhi NCR.
The proposal -- mooted in the Supreme Court on Monday by amicus curiae Harish Salve -- is based on a report from the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA), which calls for restraining the rapid increase in diesel cars with effective tax measures.
The apex court has responded positively to the proposal.
The interim application submitted to the Supreme Court proposes an annual environment compensation charge amounting to 2 per cent of the purchase value of a petrol car and 4 per cent of the purchase value of a diesel car to be levied on all private cars in the NCR region to be collected annually.
The proposal also suggests an environment compensation charge of 25 per cent of the sale value of the vehicle to be levied on the sale of each private diesel car, which is to be collected by the dealers at the time of the sale.
The court's bench has issued a notice to the government, asking for a report on the status of public transport as well as the progress of the eastern and western peripheral expressways needed to bypass the truck traffic in Delhi.
The interim application from Salve has brought to the notice of the bench that "early winter pollution levels have already spiked to very unhealthy levels".
The application further added that "After the introduction of CNG the city's air pollution levels levelled for four years. This was an enormous success of the CNG transition. But since then every year has seen a steady increase. Restraint on the uncontrolled dieselisation of the car segment has become necessary...."
According to CSE, Delhi adds roughly 1,400 new vehicles a day to its fleet - more than double of what was added in the city in the pre-CNG period with one third of them being diesel cars.
CSE said it supports the initiative to restrain diesel cars by imposing strict fiscal measures to reduce toxicity of air. Higher taxes at the time of purchase as well as annual taxes as proposed can help neutralise the cheap running costs.