Taxing diesel-run vehicles won't help

Environment

Even as the Delhi government examines a proposal to levy a fine of Rs 2000 on polluting vehicles in the City, the Supreme Court appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) is all set to ask Delhi government to put a cap on the number of diesel vehicles in the City.

Conce­r­n­ed over the alarming increase in air pollution and recent smog that engulfed the city, the EPCA is of the opinion that increasing tax on diesel run vehicles at the time of registration will help curb rising level of toxicants in the air.

Undoubtedly, air pollution is a serious concern. So, will the higher duty on diesel cars serve the purpose? “I don’t think this will turn out to be a fruitful step in bringing down pollution levels. It is beyond imagination,” says Hitesh Khurana, manager sales, Galaxy Toyota, Moti Nagar.  

“Diesel cars and Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV) will always be attractive for consumers given the lower fuel cost. Increasing the cost of diesel run vehicles will not stop people from buying cars because if they have decided to purchase it they will definitely go for it. Charging extra won’t help in curbing pollution,” says Hitesh.

Earlier this month, EPCA chairman Bhure Lal apprised that the registration of diesel vehicles has seen a huge incre­ase in the City. It has risen from four percent in 2000 to 60 percent in 2012.
However, this should not surprise authorities, as it was expected. Increase in petrol prices made car manufacturers push diesel models in the market which attracted customers too.

Now, when the roads are choc-a-bloc with diesel-run vehicles the EPCA’s proposal is taken as a
means by fund starved government to generate revenue.

Jitendra Chauhan, who owns a showroom of Mahindra (manufacturers of diesel cars) in Wazirpur says, “The government is using pollution as a means to generate reven­ue to fill their pockets.  Heavy taxing will prove to be a failure. Instead of burdening masses, the government should invest energy in figuring out other ways of controlling pollution.”

However, Jitendra agrees that higher duty will bring down sales to an extent, though it may not altogether stop consumers from buying cars. “There will be a slight slump in the sales but customers will buy cars. The reason being the government is not able to provide proper public transport which plays an important role in bringing pollution down,” says Jitendra.

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