Pay no toll at 65 booths, 6 near Mumbai, from June 1

Written By kom nampultig on Sabtu, 11 April 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The state government on Friday announced waiver of road toll for cars and state transport buses at 65 plazas, six of them around Mumbai, from the midnight of May 31. Continued toll collection on existing roads and new booths cropping up have been a contentious issue, with citizens, and some political parties, strongly opposed to it.

The new relief includes plazas at Kasheli on the Bhiwandi-Wadpe road, Kamothe on the Sion-Panvel highway, Gaimukh on the Thane-Ghodbunder road and two posts at Katai and Gove villages on the Bhiwandi-Kalyan-Shil road. The Wadkhal toll post on the Alibaug-Pen-Khopoli road is being totally withdrawn.

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said the move was in tune with the BJP-Shiv Sena government's policy of doing away with all toll booths in the state. "Major relief to people of Maharashtra as we have kept our promise by announcing in assembly that 12 toll plazas will be closed from midnight of May 31, 2015," he tweeted.

Fadnavis said the government had declared its toll policy but needed time to fine-tune it. "We will ensure toll operators do not go to court and obtain a stay on the revocation of toll. If, however, they do approach the courts we shall fight it out,'' he said.

A committee headed by additional chief secretary (PWD) has been set up to check if Mumbai Entry Point Ltd's six toll booths on the fringes of Mumbai (Vashi, Airoli, Mulund, Bhandup, Dahisar), the Bandra-Worli sea link and the Mumbai-Pune Expressway can offer any waiver to private cars and state buses. The report is expected to be out by July-end.

Another committee headed by PWD minister Chandrakant Patil will take a decision on the Kolhapur toll plaza before May 31, Fadnavis said. The agitation, allegedly staged by Sena activists against toll collection on nine roads connecting Kolhapur, turned violent in January last year, with four booths being burnt.

The move will bring relief for Mumbaikars who commute to and from the distant suburbs and places like Pune, Nashik and Goa in their cars and SUVs. But the loss of toll from private cars may be recovered from other commercial vehicles, which may kick up the cost of transportation of goods and thus the cost of commodities.

Transport experts said Mumbaikars who move through the distant suburbs like Ghodbunder road, Bhiwandi-Kalyan road and Sion-Panvel highway can hope to save between Rs 70 and Rs 200. These toll booths charge Rs 30-40 one way.

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