Shimla court defers 'green tax' on visitors' vehicles
Shimla, March 15 : In relief to the motorists who were paying "green tax" while entering this tourist resort town, the Himachal Pradesh High Court Friday temporarily suspended its collection.
The tax, imposed by the Shimla Municipal Corporation, came into effect last September at all entry points of the town on all classes of automobiles, both commercial and private, that are not registered in the hill state.
Hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the imposition of the tax, a division bench of Acting Chief Justice R.B. Misra and Justice Surinder Singh said the barrier for collecting the tax without the permission of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and in the absence of quid pro quo, cannot be permitted at this stage.
"Therefore, till the permission is obtained from the NHAI and parking facilities are made available, no obstruction of any kind to collect green tax or levy will be made by the municipal corporation forthwith," they observed.
The court listed the matter for next hearing March 25.
The "green tax", in line with that in Manali town, was expected to raise Rs.6 crore annually.
A two-wheeler had to pay Rs.100 per entry, whereas a car and a bus/truck have to pay Rs.200 and Rs.500 respectively per entry. The tax on utility vehicles was Rs.300.
As per municipal corporation estimates, more than 5,000 vehicles are entering Shimla every day during the peak tourist season.
The four entry points where the green tax was to be charged are Tara Devi, Totu, Dhalli and Mehali.