A committee headed by a chief engineer will be set up to ascertain if more toll nakas in the state can be scrapped, minister for public works department Chhagan Bhujbal informed the legislative council on Friday.
The state government has announced to scrap 44 more toll nakas even before the concession period for them was over. Until recently, 67 toll nakas were shut as their concession period had come to an end.
Tolls were introduced in Maharashtra around 20 years ago to give impetus to infrastructure development in the state. "The committee will study integration of tolls and if more tolls can be done away with,'' Bhujbal said, replying to a calling attention motion.
Congress legislator Sanjay Dutt, who raised the issue, said Rs11,403.58 crore had been spent on 45 projects and the cost was to be recovered through tolls over a 15-20-year period. However, within two-to-five years, toll operators had recovered Rs9,704.80 crore and by the time the concession period came to an end, an amount of Rs8,000 crore would have been recovered in excess of the cost incurred.
Bhujbal said under the new policy, it has been recommended that the distance between two tolls must be 45-50km. The matter was now before the Bombay high court, he said, adding that at present the state shared 75% of the profit while the toll operator took 25%.