In­dia owes Lon­don 4.4m pounds

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Pra­sun Son­walkar let­ters@hin­dus­tan­

LON­DON: The In­dian high com­mis­sion has moved into the top 5 of the list of Lon­don- based f or­eign mis­sions who owe au­thor­i­ties there over £95 mil­lion in ‘con­ges­tion charge’, in­tro­duced in 2003 to re­duce traf­fic con­ges­tion and raise funds for the trans­port sys­tem.

The con­ges­tion charge means ev­ery ve­hi­cle en­ter­ing a zone in cen­tral Lon­don marked by the let­ter ‘C’ must pay £11.50 a day from Mon­day to Fri­day be­tween 7am and 6pm (emer­gency ve­hi­cles ex­empt). Fail­ure to pay in­vites a £130 penalty.

But the mis­sions of In­dia and nearly 70 coun­tries — dubbed a “stub­born mi­nor­ity” — have re­fused to pay the “tax”, cit­ing ex­emp­tion un­der the Vi­enna Con­ven­tion.

This is dis­puted by Trans­port for Lon­don (TfL), a govern­ment body that be­lieves it is not a tax but a charge for a “ser­vice”, and as such, for­eign mis­sions are not ex­empt. The im­passe has con­tin­ued over the years with the over­all dues amount­ing to £97,048,600.



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