While Delhi continues to grapple with a very high level of air pollution, an RTI reply has revealed that the AAP government in Delhi didn’t spend most of the money collected under green tax over last several years. The Arvind Kejriwal led government spent only around 20% of the money collected for mitigation of environmental problems.
As per the RTI reply accessed by Times Now, the Delhi government has said while green tax of ₹1174.67 crore was collected since 2015, only ₹272.51 crore have been spent. Moreover, of the ₹272 crore spent, ₹265 crore were spent on the orders of the Supreme Court. The Delhi government on its own spent only a few crores of rupees of the green fund for repairing roads. The RTI reply states that ₹265 crore was spent on the Delhi–Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System. This means that a huge amount of ₹902 crore remains unutilised in the fund collected as green tax by the Delhi government. That’s a whopping 77% of the fund sitting idle.
Reacting to the RTI reply, union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said that this speaks volume about the Callous and casual attitude of the government towards ensuring better health for the citizens of the capital. “₹900 crore is not a small amount, people have paid for that to ensure that the government spends it on a positive manner on positive things, to ensure better living for them”, Dr Vardhan said.
Reacting the RTI reply reported Times Now, the AAP government in Delhi has said that the fund will not go unused. The said that the expenditure is happening in phases, and the fund will be spent in the next six months. The Kejriwal government also said that Electric buses have been already commissioned.
This is not the first time that RTI reply has revealed how the Delhi government has been unable to spend the green tax collected. Another similar RTI query in 2017 has revealed that while ₹787 crore were collected as the green cess, only ₹93 lakhs was spent out of that. This amount was spent on preparation of documents for the radio-frequency identification system at toll plazas. In 2017 also the Delhi government had said that unused amount will be used to purchase 500 electric buses. In March this year the Kejriwal government had approved the purchase of 1000 electric buses, but electric bus services have not started in the capital city yet.
The green tax, or the ‘environment compensation charge (ECC)’, is required to be paid by diesel trucks entering Delhi.