Mysore: Very soon, all inter-State vehicles, including two-wheelers, will have to pay “Green Tax” if they have to ply on the National Highways and State Highways passing through National Parks and forest areas including the Bandipur Tiger Reserve and Nagarahole National Park.
NH-212 (now renamed as NH 766) connects Karnataka to Kerala via Gundlupet in Chamarajanagar and NH-67 links Karnataka to Tamil Nadu and both the Highways pass through the Tiger Reserve. A State Highway passes through Nagarahole National Park and Tiger Reserve connecting Karnataka and Kerala.
Green Cess or Green Tax is to promote “ecologically responsible behaviour” and is already implemented in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh where vehicles entering those States are charged Green Tax.
Confirming this to Star of Mysore this morning, Project Tiger and Bandipur National Park Director T. Balachandra said that the Forest Department is preparing a detailed proposal to levy “Green Tax” from vehicles entering the Tiger Reserve through the Highways. The proposal will be submitted to the Revenue Department.
As per the proposal, vehicles from Karnataka will be exempted from the new tax and this system is followed in the neighbouring States. Other vehicles have to pay the “Green Tax” as they are responsible for environmental pollution.
“Four days back, I had written to Chamarajanagar Deputy Commissioner regarding the levying of Green Tax following the model of other States. “Till now, there was no such proposal in Karnataka. We are making a detailed proposal to the Government including the tax structure followed in other States. If the proposal is accepted, it will be implemented across Karnataka and all inter-State vehicles will have to pay the “Green Tax”, he said.
The Forest Department, however, will not collect the tax as it will fall under the jurisdiction of the Revenue Department. The tax ranges from Rs. 20 to Rs. 100 and the Forest officials are aiming for similar kind of tax, sources said. The comprehensive report will be submitted before the State Government along with various options available with the Government to collect the tax, sources added.
It may be recalled here that the Centre had proposed a Draft National Forest Policy (NFP) in 2016 where this Green Tax was mentioned. It said, “environmental cess, green tax, carbon tax, etc., may be levied on certain products and services for facilitating ecologically responsible behaviour, garnering citizens’ contribution and supplementing financial resources.”
However, the NFP released by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change last year did not make any mention about the Green Tax. However, the Tax was implemented in New Delhi, three years ago in Tamil Nadu and one-and-a-half years back in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.