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The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority [EPCA] on Tuesday (August 13) gave out a direction asking all commercial vehicles entering the national capital from all the 13 major high-tech toll plazas, to carry radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags without which heavy fines will be levied. This will become effective from August 16 onwards. 

The EPCA ordered the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) – the nodal agency executing the project — to ensure that all the 13 RFID-enabled toll plazas were fully operational by then. 

“The enforcement agencies will have to be present on ground for monitoring. SDMC has been directed to bring out an advertisement in this regard by Wednesday (August 14),” EPCA member Sunita Narian said.

In the first week of the project, commercial vehicles without the tags will have to shell out twice the Environment Compensation Charge (ECC) and the municipal toll tax, depending on the category of the vehicle. The penalty will then increase to four and six times in the second and third weeks, respectively, according to the statement. 

The system is aimed at reducing traffic congestion at Delhi’s borders, which is expected to in turn help cut down air pollution mainly caused by vehicles running on diesel. The RFID-enabled toll booths electronically deduct ECC and municipal toll tax from the e-wallets of vehicles as they pass through toll plazas.

The 13 toll plazas include Kundli, Rajokri, Tikri, Aya Nagar, Kalindi Kunj, Kapashera, Shahdara (Main), Shahdara (Flyover), Ghazipur (Main), Ghazipur (Old), DND Flyway, Badarpur-Faridabad (Main) and Badarpur-Faridabad (Flyover). Around 80%-to 85% of traffic enters Delhi from these toll points, according to EPCA report.

In preparation of the project, EPCA had reportedly conducted extensive meetings with truckers’ bodies, urging them to go cashless.

However, transport union has appealed for more time to shift the system as around 70% vehicles are yet to adopt the system.

K S Atwal, chairman, All India Motor Transport Congress, said, “So far we have no clue about any penalty to be imposed. At least 70% heavy duty vehicles still don’t have the tags. We need more time to switch to this system from the manual system. Also, the automatic system will mean that we will have to pay ECC even on items that are exempted from it. We are not clear about the new system and we need at least a month’s time.”

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