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AP: Emission tax to control pollution mooted

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A passerby at the RTC crossroad in Hyderabad protects himself from the huge air pollution on Monday.

HYDERABAD, April 29

A SIMPLE, but difficult measure of introducing emission tax on vehicles in Hyderabad can help in drastically cutting down vehicular pollution loads by at least 300 tonnes per day, according to a study done by the Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI).

The emission taxes should cover the existing 2.98-lakh vehicles which are more than 15 years old.

Though, they constitute roughly 27 per cent of the total fleet they are responsible for about 60 per cent or nearly 600 tonnes of daily emissions in Hyderabad, the study said.

The State Government has recently announced its willingness to implement the Andhra Pradesh State Pollution Control Board's recommendation under Section 20 of the Air Act of 1982, to scrap immediately all commercial and transport vehicles which have completed 15 years.

The ASCI study done by Dr Y. Satyanarayana, has pointed out that in Hyderabad city, 1,200 out of 2,264 buses and 14,000 out of 36,372 good vehicles were more than 15 years old as on April 1, 2001. Similarly, 2.35 lakh out of 8.12 lakh two-wheelers, 35,000 out of 1.1 lakh cars and 12,000 out of 49,000 auto rickshaws have completed 15 years on the same date.

An interesting fact to be considered is most of these old vehicles, which are super emitters of pollutants were manufactured in the country before 1992 and were not designed for lower emissions. The emission standards for new vehicles were fixed for the first time in the country only in 1991 (petrol driven) and 1992 (diesel run).

Since the emission control systems deteriorate with age, the pollution thrown up by them is also higher. Hence, a car manufactured before 1990 emits as much carbon monoxide (CO) as 12 cars produced after April 1, 2000.

Similarly, one two-wheeler of 1990 vintage produces as much as 18 two-wheelers produced after April 2000. Similar is the case with buses, 3-wheelers or trucks.

The ASCI report suggests that all the vehicles which have completed 12 years must be tested on a dynamometer and the output of pollutants should be measured to impose the tax. Once this is done, the vehicle owner will invariably be pushed into either retrofitting with modern emission control equipment or just opt for scrapping. Emission taxes are prevalent in Europe and the US, the report said.

The existing taxation policy in Hyderabad, however, was not conducive for vehicle owners to scrap their old vehicles and replace them with new.

For private vehicles, there is no tax after 12 years and an amount of 11 per cent of the price of the vehicle will have to be paid as life-time tax whenever new vehicles are purchased.

To reduce the burden of taxes at the time of purchase of vehicles, the life-taxes being collected lumpsum for 12 years can be collected in 3-4 instalments.

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