NEW DELHI: The Delhi government has spent only 21 per cent of the Rs 1,298 crore collected as environment compensation charge from diesel-guzzling trucks entering the capital in the last six years, according to official data.
Implemented on the directions of the Supreme Court, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) collects the cess and deposits it with the Transport Department.
Since November 20, 2015, the city government has utilized only Rs 281.5 crore of the Rs 1,298 crore collected as "environment cess" on green projects, as per a reply to an RTI application filed by social activist Amit Gupta.
The maximum fund (Rs 271 crore) was utilised in the financial year 2018-19, with the city government sanctioning Rs 265 crore to the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) for the Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) project.
The NCRTC is a joint venture of the Centre and governments of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh for implementing the RRTS project across the National Capital Region.
According to the RTI reply, the government released Rs 93 lakh to the SDMC in 2016-17 as "pre-tendering incidental cost of RFID" project which involved installation of automatic radio frequency identification devices at Delhi's border points for collection of toll and environment cess.
It also sanctioned Rs 15 crore from the amount for a pilot project which involved using Hydrogen-enriched CNG in 50 state-run buses in 2018-19 and 2019-20 to reduce pollution and improve fuel economy.
The project has since been put on the backburner.
Last month, PTI had reported that the government spent Rs 527 crore on green activities from Rs 547 crore collected in the Air Ambience Fund since 2008.
Set up in 2008 and collected through the Department of Trade and Taxes, the Air Ambience Fund gets 25 paise from the sale of each litre of diesel in Delhi.
The fund has been utilized for grant of subsidy to battery-operated vehicles, e-rickshaws, odd-even drive, maintenance of the bio-gas plant at the Delhi Secretariat, operating online air monitoring stations, study on real-time source apportionment, installation of smog tower and salary of environment marshals, according to the government.