ISLAMABAD, Dec 8: Unable to find a solution to its financial constraints, the civic agency of the federal capital has come out with a proposal to levy a one-time road maintenance cess on vehicles registered with its excise and taxation department, Dawn has learnt.
According to a document made available to Dawn, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) is planning to charge Rs5 per cubic centimtre (cc) of engine from every vehicle.
“If a citizen is driving a 650cc engine car, he will have to pay Rs3,250 under the road maintenance fee,” said one official in the CDA requesting anonymity.
He said since a number of roads in the city were in dilapidated conditions and needed carpeting, the civic agency had to spend a huge amount on their maintenance.
Another official in the authority added: “Imposition of this new tax in addition to the one already being paid to the ETO will be a bit unfair.”
An official in the interior ministry on the condition of anonymity told Dawn that they were already charging Rs350 from every new vehicle at the time of its registration with the ETO under the Motor Vehicle Tax. New commercial vehicles have to pay a Rs1,000 registration fee, he added.
Data available with the ministry official showed that around 300,000 vehicles were registered with the ETO Islamabad - 36,000 during the last two years.
“With such a large number of vehicles, the authority will earn a huge amount of revenue under the road maintenance fee, bailing itself out from the financial troubles,” added a finance wing official.
“I agree that because of the use of substandard material in the construction and repair of roads, they are in poor shapes. But this money will help us in maintaining every inch of the roads,” claimed the official.
The roads in sectors G-7, G-8, G-9, G-10, I-9 and I-10 are damaged since intermittent carpeting and spot-filling never produce the desired results. This also raises questions about the performance of the contractors and the monitoring mechanism of the CDA, said the official.
Another official in the administration department said road maintenance charges were received all over the world.
“Such a fee or taxation is imposed whenever a vehicle is registered with the taxation body, and the amount directly goes into the accounts of the municipality concerned,” added the official.
However, citizens are a bit critical of the civic agency’s proposal to introduce the road maintenance fee.
“This fee is unjustified since I am already paying the routine token fee of around Rs750 for my car registered in Islamabad,” said Mumtaz Hasan, a semi-government official.
Mr Hasan said if the road maintenance fee was imposed, he would rather prefer to purchase a vehicle with the registration number plate of Rawalpindi since there is no such tax in Punjab.
When contacted, CDA spokesman Ramzan Sajid said final decision about the matter had not been taken. He added that proposals were made by different departments for the consideration of higher authorities.
“Such proposals can be shot down by the management until it has strong basis and acceptability among the citizens,” added the spokesman.