Here Charitable Individualism is the key!… nothing less.

Posts tagged ‘nhai’

NHAI & TRAFFIC POLICING


NHAI had been given all the existing roads which were formerly under the maintenance of CPWD to private operators, consequently NHAI roads have become tollable roads. Just to ensure that the vote-casting lower middle class do not make a hue and cry about these “TOLLABLE” roads, as a concession, auto-rickshaws, cycles, motor cycles and local buses are exempted from paying toll. In effect the government has ensured that the lower income group does not escalate the matter.

However, this measure has left car owners with no option but to pay toll wherever they go. Since their voice is not heard in the din of ‘socialistic measures’, none emphasizes this point. In effect there are no alternate FREE ROADS for car owners.

Coming to the overladen trucks, in a segment of around 50KMs, a car if charged Rs.70/- the toll collectible from a truck is Rs.210/- one way. This is whether the truck is laden or not. What is the load on the road because of a car? Starting from 600Kgs to 2500Kgs. But what is the fully laden weight of a normally over-laden truck- 35,000 Kgs. Which in proportion would be ten times that of a passenger car. So if one works pro-rata for the trucks keeping Rs.70/- as the base rate, then the trucks should be paying Rs.700/- per segment of 50 Kms. Why is this anomaly, in the name of ‘socialism’? We as a nation have to keep the prices of goods down and therefore keep the toll charges down on trucks at the cost of the passenger cars. (Rob the non-vote-casting passenger, Peter to pay the vote-casting low income, Paul!)

Even this is tolerable, but what can’t be tolerated is that in a three lane NHAI, in the inner most lane, which is normally used by high speed passenger cars and emergency vehicles, crawling over-loaded trucks huff and puff blocking the least facility of quick movement for the fast moving passenger cars. Especially, in the stretch between Ambur, Krishnagiri and Hosur on the NHAI between Chennai and Bangalore, there is an upward gradient making even ideally loaded trucks to struggle.

In view of the above problems, there are two measures which are to be taken up by NHAI and done on a war footing:-

1. Weigh bridges are to be installed at every toll plaza so that, overweight trucks are to be charged extra based on the overweight, so that the prices do not get affected for carrying goods within the prescribed limits for trucks.

2. Traffic Police are to be made more efficient, so that rogue truckers moving on the inner lanes are charged real time.

3. Further, there are not enough public conveniences on the way for travelers, and I should say that i saw two girls of the age between 23-25 having to cross three lanes on each side to find a public convenience after their bus stopped near a tea stall, which for the favour of bringing 40 clients for tea, the stall owner gives free tea and biscuits to the driver and conductors.

Considering the fact that the usage of NHAI are the highest in the Western India and Southern India, it is important that NHAI TRAFFIC POLICE SERVICE be mooted and implemented, so that they could join the local police, traffic authorities and bring some order to the traffic chaos, which is brewing in the NHAIs!

 

 

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Harish Salve & his recipe on Diesel subsidy!


The following is excerpted from Times of India dated 27/11/2012:-

Amicus curiae and senior advocate Harish Salve, who has been assisting the forest bench of the Supreme Court for nearly a decade, lamented that the benefits of switching the entire public transport system in Delhi to CNG was lost as more and more diesel cars were added every year because of the price differential between petrol and diesel.

“Delhi has already exhausted all soft options,” warned Salve before arguing before a bench of Justices Aftab Alam, K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar that “the solution must be to restrain the growth of personal vehicle usage, particularly diesel vehicles, and this is only possible through a highly augmented transport system in Delhi and the region”.

Justifying harsher levy for diesel cars, Salve said in his application, “The market share of diesel cars is more than 50% of sales. This is because of the growing differential between petrol and diesel. The emission norms for diesel cars legally allow higher limits for NOx and particulate matters as compared to petrol cars.”

The former solicitor general, while advocating imposition of 25% of cost of all new diesel cars as green tax, suggested levy of an environmental compensation charge on existing personal vehicles — ranging from 2% (petrol) to 4% (diesel) of the vehicle’s cost every year.

For old cars, the levy would be collected annually by the insurance companies along with the premium amount, he suggested, and said the insurance companies must ensure that the vehicle had valid pollution under control certificate at the time of annual renewal of policy.

We in India have an uncanny ability to mix immiscible facts and make a concoction and purvey the same as the TRUTH for common consumption.

First and foremost, the issue on Diesel to be decided is whether the subsidy on Diesel, is being utilized by those who are not the targeted beneficiaries of the subsidy. If so, then how to quarter them and make them pay for the benefits so enjoyed by them.

Secondly, if Diesel is more polluting how to curb the usage of Diesel in cities, where pollution has become an ever increasing nuisance.

The first is related to the well entrenched SOCIALISM and the second is relatable to ENVIRONMENT.

To deal with the first issue, if the targeted segment of Diesel users are the Railways, road transport, DG sets, farm and earth moving equipments then surely the passenger car segments are to be taken out of the persons enjoying the benefits. Is it possible to take them out? And in any case, what is the percentage of the un-targeted segment? This un-targeted segment of diesel using passenger car owners constitute 0.6% to 16% (depending on the data source) of total consumption of Diesel in the country. The fears that this is growing and might skittle out the petrol cars is not an entirely unfounded fear. But, should we get into the shoes of HONDA CARS and help them out in limiting the purchase of diesel cars? HONDA stands out among all the names merely because they have the avowed principle that they produce only gasoline cars. No other car manufacturer falls in this segment.

So if there is an 8% of cars using the benefits unintended for them how do we recover the benefit from them? That should be the issue. I believe, if we frame the issue properly, we may have a fair chance of discovering a method to solve the issue. But if we start with a SOCIALISTIC bent, like assuming that a person who can make a higher capital cost would reap the benefit of this subsidy and save over a period of time, we are more likely to impose immediately impalpable costs and curb INVENTIONS on improvement of diesel passenger cars.

Democracy is for the people. But if we segment the people into those who can and those who can’t, then we cannot be ‘for’ the people. The people who decide for others are ‘by’ the people category. But these BY THE PEOPLE segment the people into those who can and those who can’t and in the name of socialism lay burdens on those who can, merely based on their notions of socialism. Instead, impartially decide on issues and make the undeserving pay- but do not make them pay more.

I travel a lot by road and use our National Highways. There are trucks which struggle to climb even a moderate slope, when i asked a person who was employed with Ashok Leyland, as to why you make such inefficient engines which struggle to carry the cargo, he said, “Boss, these trucks are designed to carry 12-15 Metric Tonnes and they are made to carry up to 25 tonnes, and that is the reason for all that struggle. ” I have more reason to believe him considering his domain  knowledge and incisive thinking.

My suggestion is that, there are umpteen NHAI toll collection centres, why not have a weighbridge be installed at every toll centre so that when the vehicle comes to a stop, all transport vehicles could be charged as per the weight and not by the axles and tyres of the vehicles. This will ensure that exploitation of diesel by the truckers are not resorted to.

Further,  DG sets are used by the various gated communities and high end tenements, why not charge them for such usage and say that anyone who BUYS DIESEL IN CANS WOULD NOT BE GIVEN THE SUBSIDY BENEFITS? This will also ensure that the earth moving equipments and excavators do not use subsidized diesel, as most of the times, they need to buy diesel as these excavators cannot travel by roads.

Another suggestion is that, when diesel bunks are allotted to fleet owners for diesel, if the vehicles used are for earth moving equipments, why not charge them for diesel at unsubsidized rates?

This is to take care of the enjoyers of unintended subsidy.

As regards the environmental issues , there was a time when sulphur emission was sought to be reduced and at the instance of  Government, the oil refining companies went on a overdrive and ensured that the Diesel supplies to the country was reduced in its sulphur content. So why not we ask PCRA and CSIR (there is an institute called Indian Institute of Petroleum which eats up Rs 18 crores per year on allocations by the GoI and sits on 257 Acres of land allotted by the Government for it) to conduct original research instead of aping and pilfering innovations from the West?

Instead, Mr Harish Salve gets into TAXATION benefits for the exchequer and suggests GREEN TAX of 25% on all new Diesel cars! How preposterous! The actual cost of producing a diesel car is not any higher than that of a petrol car. In any case, if the production of more diesel cars are encouraged, then the price of the diesel cars would come down, but when the Government reads Socialism into the current account benefits enjoyed by the diesel car owners, then some in the Government tend to accept these opinions as God given Truths and impose unwanted Taxes on Diesel cars.

The Polluter Pays principle is one of the binding principles of the Environmental Law, but why do we Indians have to make an 8% user pay for the sins of the whole community, which enjoys the benefits of low freights, railways, farm equipments, earth moving equipments etc.? Sheer OPINION which is being sanctified in the altar of Environmental Laws!

Finally here is an excerpt of an article from THE ECONOMIC TIMES (25/08/2012):-

Although the government tries to keep diesel prices artificially low, there is no mechanism to ensure the benefits go to the desired purposes. “A good portion of the diesel subsidy is used by sectors where it is not intended to be spent. Nearly Rs 8000 crore subsidy is consumed by power generating sets in malls and big buildings, while around Rs 3000 crore of subsidy is spent in powering telecom towers,” said Debasish Mishra, Senior Director, Deloitte India.

According to the government the first round of field survey of All India Study on Sectoral Demand of diesel and petrol revealed that nearly 16 per cent of diesel is consumed by passenger vehicles, 4.6 per cent by gensets and 2 per cent by mobile towers. This is wastage of an estimated Rs 23,000 crore of subsidy for full FY13. However, PPAC maintains its study will take one year to finish, when it will be able to put definite numbers to the consumption pattern.

Here is another link of a news item which pegs passenger car consumption of diesel at less than 1%: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/Personal-cars-account-for-0-6-of-Indias-diesel-consumption/articleshow/11249656.cms. So, if one goes by Kirit Parikh’s report at 15% for passenger cars, the total diesel subsidy would be Rs. 15, 000 crores (on a total diesel subsidy of Rs. 1,00,000 crores) but if one were to go by the least suggesting data, then the subsidy is only Rs 600 crores. So let us firstly decide the quantum of unintended subsidy enjoyers and find out the FACT of the problem before suggesting the remedies to the Supreme Court of India.

Otherwise, the diesel passenger car owners would become the whipping boys in the hands of the ever eager taxation proponents and collect money disproportionate to what they enjoy. If at all the diesel car owners enjoy, it is because Diesel gives more mileage per litre of diesel than petrol. Our legislators are not likely to review any of the measures relating to taxation once imposed. Further our budgeting mechanism assumes the tax collection based on the last year’s tax accruals and adds the growth of consumers in that sector and calculates the taxes for the coming fiscal.

Let us be rational and encourage rationalizing our taxation and not let harebrained opinions, like GREEN TAX, rule the roost!

THE SOLUTION:

Firstly impose a condition on all diesel engine/car manufacturers that the engines ought to be made compliant as per the latest standards fixed by the European countries, which have imposed stringent emission norms. That only such diesel vehicles are to be sold from a particular cut-off date.

Secondly, impose  conditions on Petroleum refining companies in India to manufacture Diesel which could be used only by those passenger car engines which are  compliant of European emission norms.

Once these two conditions are met, then the Diesel passenger cars in India, would have to buy that Diesel meant only for passenger cars and price this Diesel WITHOUT SUBSIDY. This would ensure that the Diesel passenger car owners do not enjoy the benefits unintended for them. Even this charge that Diesel passenger car owners are living off the subsidy would be over.

Further, when the latest technology is brought in norms relating to emission standards, Environmental concerns would also stand addressed.

So what do we do with the existing Diesel cars? Simple, like the phat-phats of Delhi, they would be phased out after serving 15 years , when an FC becomes essential.

INSTEAD OF FOLLOWING A SANE SOLUTION, IF WE GO BY HAREBRAINED SUGGESTIONS THE FUNDAMENTALS OF DEMOCRACY WOULD BE SHAKEN AS THERE WOULD BE NO RATIONALE FOR OUR DECISION MAKING AND DEMOCRACY WOULD PETER INTO OLIGARCHIC DEMOCRACY!

The TOLL LOOT!


My father, my grand father have surely paid for the National Highways by paying their taxes. Thus many National Highways were expanded, maintained and some new ones constructed out of their taxes! To LOOT the third generation for maintaining these OLD HIGHWAYS, is usurious.

When one traverses three segments of National Highways connecting Bangalore to Chennai, which are NH 46, NH 84 and NH 7, one feels that these Highways were infrastructure built through generations of activity. Activity of Indians paying their taxes, the Government acquiring land to expand those Highways and maintaining them out of these revenue receipts.

But somewhere along the line, we INDIANS are taken for a ride. The three NHs of 7, 46 and 84 consisting of around 280 Kilometres are divided between toll operators who are located at Krishnagiri, outskirts of Vaniyambadi, outskirts of Vellore, near Wallajahpet and finally at Sriperumbudur. These are the TOLL joints as one travels from Bangalore to Chennai. From Hosur to Krishnagiri is NH 7, then from Krishnagiri to outskirts of Ranipettai (near the Wallajapet toll) is NH46 and the last stretch from Wallajahpet to Chennai (Vanagaram) is NH 84.

These 280kms have been split up between these 5 toll operators. These Highways were built, rather renovated, on a BOT basis. They were to collect the toll upon completion of renovation and recover their cost.

From the 6th or 7th of June 2011, the rates of two tolls have been revised from Rs. 25 to Rs 60 and the other from Rs 35 to Rs 60. Each of these tolls collect tolls for usage of around 50 Kms. Which means per KM cost of using these tolls are Rs 1.20 per KM. Motorbikes, autorickshaws and ambulances are exempted. Which means only passenger cars, trucks, LCVs and other Heavy vehicles are tolled!

These roads were NOT acquired recently, they were existing roads which were through a bidding process allotted for laying and collection of tolls. These collections are not necessarily done by the companies which LAID THE ROADS. These companies which laid the roads have probably exited after selling their stake to another company, working out the REVENUE generatable from toll operations in the remainder of the years. This sudden revision of the toll rates took me by surprise. When asked, who were the toll operators one of the persons manning the Krishnagiri Toll said that RELIANCE Industries were operating the toll.

I see that these NATIONAL HIGHWAYS for which lands were acquired way back in the 50’s and 60’s are being handed over to these cash rich, well connected companies and allowed to LOOT from the helpless travelers. On the one hand it is the avowed policy of all the parties in power, therefore the Government of India, to create infrastructure facilities for free interaction and exchange of goods. Yet this LOOTING of passengers, who travel by cars is PREPOSTEROUS.

My fore fathers paid for the roads and now I pay for these fat cat companies, in the guise of maintenance! And these are limited to the NH in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat and Maharashtra where the traffic is enormous because of manufacturing and other trading activities. Whereas even though there are similar roads in other parts of the country they do not generate this level of income.

By usage of my car if the roads are eroded to the extent of Rs1.20 per KM, then the justification should be transparantly explained by mentioning the toll collections for the year, maintenance charges, salaries and other expenses and the profits made from these operations. Further, as these companies are prone to inflating their expenses on BOOKS and thereby showing REDUCED profits, their books should be audited by the CAG, as these are toll collectors who are stepping in to do the functions of the Government.

Sure PPP is an instrument of growth, but using that as a means to EXPLOIT succeeding generations is DESPICABLE to say the least! I hope the government would be rational in their toll collection in high activity states like Tamil Nadu and not use these for netting off the losses incurred in toll operations in sluggish, uneducated and feudal states of India.

It has been recently reported in the papers that in NH47 between Aroor and Edappally near Cochin-Ernakulam, there was a toll collection of Rs5, which was revised to Rs 15/-. The locals went to the toll plaza and got it vandalized.

Another instance is the Bangalore International Airport Ltd., who have taken objection to NH7 collecting toll from the taxi operators.

There is a Private Limited company called MEPL, who collect @ 45% of all toll collected in this country. Any effort to find out the persons behind this Private Limited Company from the Indian websites is in vain. One has to rely on REUTERS for dope on their activities. One can access this from the following link:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/20/markets-ratings-meptollraods-idUSWNA907320110520

Such is our transparency. The article is posted by me as a comment to this blog! As it is not uncommon for such articles to disappear, when found inconvenient by the Pvt. Ltd Company!

Finally, toll collected is a FEE and not a TAX. Only to the extent that the users have enjoyed “COLLECTIVELY” that the FEE is to be charged. But there seems to be an UNDUE HASTE by the Government to PULL OUT MONEY from the road users more like a TAX than as a FEE!

GOD HELP INDIA!

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