Jamna Auto to set up two new plants in South India

Jamna Auto will set up two new manufacturing units at Hosur and Chennai to produce parts for commercial vehicles, entailing a total investment of Rs80 crore

Auto component maker Jamna Auto Industries Ltd said it will set up two new manufacturing units at Hosur and Chennai to produce parts for commercial vehicles, entailing a total investment of Rs80 crore.

The Hosur facility is being set up to manufacture parabolic springs and the plant is expected to go on-stream in December 2011, the company said in a statement.

The new plant at Chennai will manufacture air suspension, bogey suspension and lift axles and commercial production is expected to commence from July 2011, it added.

"Both the plants are being set up at a project cost of Rs80 crore," the company said.

Jamna Auto has gone for major capacity expansion for parabolic springs to meet the demand of major commercial vehicle manufacturers-Daimler India, Renault-Nissan, Leyland-Nissan and Ashok Leyland-it said.

On Monday, Jamna Auto ended flat at Rs131 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while the benchmark Sensex declined 1.43% to 18,222.67.

User

Delhi toll tax—corruption, or daylight robbery?

The toll tax was introduced with the objective of dissuading heavy vehicles going through the national capital territory with an aim to minimize pollution. Today, it has turned into a revenue- gathering exercise that is encouraging more and more vehicles to come into the city

Some of the biggest and worst traffic jams that motorists coming and going out of Delhi, face on a regular basis, are at the borders of the national capital territory. One reason for this is that there is a 'toll tax' to be paid to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), by all commercial vehicles, including buses and taxis. This results in long queues and delays, often extending for hours. The best part is that this particular MCD toll tax was introduced to reduce pollution. But what happens actually is hundreds of vehicles moving slowly leads to more pollution than if they had just been let through!

On Saturday, several Delhi newspapers published a half-page advertisement by the MCD for a tender for handling the toll paid by commercial vehicles entering Delhi. While this article will go through the numbers in due course, it is also interesting to go into the history of how and why this toll came to be collected, in the first case. The minimum reserve price per annum, by the way, is Rs225 crore. The income, incidentally, is expected to be over Rs1,000 crore per annum. And therein rests an interesting background, on how all this came about, and why the Delhi toll tax is such a great game for those who win.

Some years ago, the Supreme Court of India, in the landmark MC Mehta vs Union of India and others case on environmental issues, ruled that truck traffic going through Delhi had no reason to do so as it simply added to the already heavy pollution, and so it stipulated that these trucks would need to take an alternate route. Since an alternate route was not available, grand plans were drawn up to construct bypasses around Delhi - which have still not seen the light of day. In the interim, this is what the judgement said, and more, as quoted in a Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report:
(www.cpcb.nic.in/divisionsofheadoffice/pci3/Truck_report_No_12.doc) "Given the menace of non-destined trucks, the court has intervened on many occasions, and has issued various orders over the years to prevent truck traffic that is not destined for loading or offloading in the city, from entering Delhi.

From the order of the court on 6 December 2001:

"It appears that vehicles which transit through Delhi do not adhere to the vehicular standards, which are applicable in Delhi, namely they are not Euro II compliant nor are they using low sulphur and low benzene fuel. There is no reason why very large number of goods vehicles should transit through Delhi, thereby adding to the pollution level and traffic on the roads. It is therefore, proposed that with effect from 15 January 2002 no heavy, medium or light goods vehicles will ply on inter-state routes by passing through Delhi or New Delhi. It is only those goods vehicles, which on payment of octroi/toll tax carry goods to or from Delhi, which would be allowed to ply. The commissioner of police is directed to formulate a scheme in this behalf and give due publicity to all concerned and implement the same."

From the order of the court on 15 July 2002:

"We are informed by the learned counsel for the NCT (National Capital Territory) of Delhi that despite the order of this court in 2001, no heavy vehicles in transit have been stopped at the border and all of them are allowed to pass through Delhi. Learned counsel states that a scheme is prepared, which of course, is not disclosed to the Court. How any scheme prepared by the department will supersede an order of this court is difficult to comprehend. If the said scheme permits any trucks in transit to Delhi, police commissioner to show cause why the compliance of this court's order dated 6 December 2001 has not been effected and the NCT of Delhi and the police commissioner are directed to show cause why the plying of all heavy vehicles through Delhi which do not comply with category-II norms should not be stopped, especially when no effective steps have been taken by the respondents to comply with the orders of this court of December 2001. We further make it very clear that there can be no corridor or bypass joining different national highways through Delhi. The corridors, if and when proposed and constructed, will have to bypass Delhi. Case to come up on 29 July 2002."

From the order of the court dated 16 December 2002

"The matter of bypassing of trucks was discussed in this hearing. Delhi traffic police was directed to file a status report on this matter."

The matter went through various stages, in the course of which the estimate of trucks entering Delhi varied from 6,500 a day to 50,000-60,000 a day, in the years around 2002, depending on the agency involved and the point in question. But the thrust was that trucks in transit were adding to the pollution and were therefore to be dissuaded. Till a Delhi bypass was built - and till then, therefore, tolls would be collected.

Over the years, more and more roads for truck traffic have been built in Delhi, and the traffic has only grown. But meanwhile, the tolls business meant to reduce pollution by charging trucks entering Delhi in transit, has expanded in scope to include all forms of commercial vehicles entering Delhi-by some estimates between 2 lakh and 3 lakh commercial vehicles enter Delhi every day. The net effect has been that instead of reducing pollution, the MCD has converted the whole exercise into one where there is more pollution-by allowing all trucks to pass through Delhi for a fee, including those in transit. And increasing the number of private vehicles, since all buses and taxis also pay fairly high tolls now.
 
And now the effort, instead of trying to reduce pollution, is to increase revenues by ensuring that more and more vehicles have to enter or transit through Delhi.

The toll rates proposed to be levied with effect from May 2011 are listed in the table below. Note how taxis and buses have so smoothly been added to the rather amateurish list of trucks, defined by generic nomenclatures, in some cases pertaining to vehicles long rendered obsolete. (eg: Nissan, a generic term for all used ¾ toners sold by the armed forces as scrap, now extinct)
 
(Read the details of the tender at: http://www.mcdonline.gov.in/tenderlistdetail.php?id=NjE=)

Revised toll tax rates

Fees chargeable in respect of specified commercial vehicles entering Delhi at toll plazas/posts/barriers of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

S.No.

Type of vehicle

 

Entry charge per visit (Rs)

 

Monthly pass charge

(Rs)

 

1.

Taxi, tempo, Tata 407

and such type of other

commercial vehicles

45

1,350

2.

Bus, truck –Nissan,

Tata – 709/ Canter and

such type of other

commercial vehicles

85

2,550

3.

6-wheel trucks

165

4,950

4.

10-wheel truck

330

9,900

5.

14-wheel truck

820

24,600

(Note: These revised toll tax rates will be applicable with effect from 16.05.2011 - 6am - with the next toll tax contract.)

In addition, smart cards, which will work at computerised toll plazas only, shall be issued to interested commuters at the same discount rates and structure as relevant to the pass holders. (Note: No toll tax shall be payable or collected in respect of : (a) ambulances, (b) fire-fighting vehicles, (c) police vehicles, (d) government vehicles having red and amber lights, (e) defence vehicles and (f) hearses.

The toll tax rates, the categories of vehicles exempted from payment of toll tax and the name, address and telephone number of the authority to whom complaints, if any, should be addressed, shall be conspicuously and prominently displayed at two places which are at a distance of 500 metres ahead of the user fee booths as well as at the user fee booths in Hindi and in English with proper hoardings. The height of the display boards and size of letters should be such that it is easy for drivers to read the display boards.

That the toll tax aimed at reducing the number of trucks passing through Delhi is not having the desired effect is one part of the story. That it is also being used to increase dependency on private transport is yet another part. But the real part is about how the whole thing has become a game to generate money on a regular basis, which would make the Commonwealth Games scam look like a child's piggy bank, and I will cover this in the next and concluding part.

The tender, referred to earlier, states that "the average monthly traffic of specified commercial vehicles was 22,57,568" for 2010, or about 75,000 or so per day, and therefore the potential for the forthcoming three years is almost the same. That's using a total of 121 entry points. According to other estimates, including that by some entities that may bid for the contract, anywhere between 2.5 lakh and 3 lakh commercial vehicles enter Delhi daily. Some friends in the police put the number between 1.75 lakh and 2.25 lakh a day.
 
The wide difference is, obviously, because a lot of the toll collected is never declared. Drive through, especially at night, and see the bunch of young men wielding lathis, enforcing their own version of the law, often not issuing the regulation receipt while snatching money from hapless drivers. Then, what else is new?

What's new is the MCD, in its brilliance, gets a fixed sum per month, regardless of the toll tax collected. And that's, by most estimates, between about a quarter and a third of what's actually collected. The tender, interestingly, does not mention the requirements on the part of the toll tax contractor to ensure that the staff perform their duty as per specific minimum standards of adherence to existing labour laws; nor does it have any information about any redressal mechanism for issues that a consumer may have. The grapevine has it that the actual collections are further sub-contracted downwards, often on a daily basis.
 
The collection of toll on roads and highways all over the country is big business now, and growing to a point where it is attracting heavy international attention, with people smelling good and easy money for the taking. It is also a major pain, with toll booths resembling bombed out shelters, and collection usually taking more than a few minutes per vehicle. On the upside, hopefully, we get better roads and facilities on highways-mostly.

But this particular MCD toll tax has nothing to do with any additional facility or new roads-it's simply about making commercial vehicles cough up, literally. And on the strength of a Supreme Court order, apparently, hitting that segment where it hurts most-the person riding a bus to and from Delhi and its satellite cities in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. And most of the money collected does not even reach government coffers.

Is this corruption or simple daylight robbery?

User

COMMENTS

Saurabh Jain

6 years ago

I wanted to know whether a car has passed from toll booths from Kanpur to Agra NH2 route on 10th and 11th April 2010. How to get the toll receipt and details from them.

Prakash

6 years ago

I have heard that Mulund Toll Naka is illegal and is no longer allowed to collect Toll. Can you/anyone tell me how to confirm.

REPLY

malq

In Reply to Prakash 6 years ago

May I suggest you first fill up the query form on the NHAI website, and seek an answer? Failing which, please file an RTI? Good luck.

(Is the toll collected by the Centre or the State, please?)

samit

6 years ago

Right, everything aside, you truly need to fact check your article.
Delhi is a union territory? Is this 1985?

REPLY

malq

In Reply to samit 6 years ago

Delhi is not a Union Territory. Delhi does not have a Constitutional post of Governor either. No, this is not 1985.

However, the terms used is "NCT of Delhi".

Ani

6 years ago

Thank God someone finally took notice of this.
There was a time, I think for a few months, when the Supreme court order was enforced after having just been passed. The entry points had become a breeze then and the drive after 9 PM on Delhi roads was a pleasure again. And the ominous cloud of haze and black smoke that used to hang over Delhi was actually gone.
However, like all good things in India, that too did not last.
I have watched with dismay for the last many years as the court orders have openly been flouted even as a sign just before the entry to Delhi on the Panipat side displays the Honorable Supreme Court's order. And every time I have wondered who are the biggest gainers from this order. I can only imagine how much money must Delhi Police make from this one judgment.
I think the Indian System has perfected the art of making rules so that they can be broken and money made out of it.

REPLY

malq

In Reply to Ani 6 years ago

In the concluding part to this article, I shall spell out the beneficiaries who have twisted the interpretation of this judgement, and yes - DP/DTP is one of them.

Thank you for writing in.

ICAI committee to help corporates identify CSR projects

The accounting regulator has formed a PAC to help corporates to identify social sector projects specific to an industry.

New Delhi: Accounting regulator the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has formed an advisory committee of chartered accountants to help corporates identify social sector projects on which they would be required to spend 2% of their net profit, reports PTI.

The Public Advisory Committee of ICAI, has been set up with the view to protect public interest, said the newly-appointed ICAI president G Ramaswamy.
"We have formed a Public Advisory Committee with the view to help public interest.. Even for the corporate social responsibility (CSR)... A good viable project will be identified by ICAI and we will play the role of an advisory between the corporates and the public," he told PTI.

He said that it would advice companies to take up CSR projects specific to the industry they belongs to.

"For example, companies in the chemical industry could take up CSR projects related to environment protection. That way it will provide a balance," Mr Ramaswamy said.

The Companies Bill, 2009, has proposed that companies should earmark 2% of the average profit of the preceding three years for CSR activities, and make a disclosure to shareholders about the policy adopted in the process.

Industry has been of the view that they should be allowed to monitor implementation of CSR themselves without the government intervention, which the government has accepted.

The suggestion for earmarking a part of a company's profit for CSR was floated by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, which scrutinised the Companies Bill, 2009.

Subsequently, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) proposed that "Every company having net worth of Rs500 crore or more, or turnover of Rs1,000 crore or more or a net profit of Rs 5 crore or more during a year shall be required to formulate a CSR Policy ... As may be approved and specified by the company."

While state-run or public sector units (PSUs) whose net profit is less than Rs100 crore have to contribute 3%-5% of their bottomline for CSR, PSUs with profits between Rs100-Rs500 crore will earmark 2%-3%.

In case of public sector companies earning a profit of Rs500 crore and above, CSR spending should be between 0.5% to 2% of the net profit.

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