Even as the agitation over toll is raging on in Kolhapur, corporators from Navi Mumbai have come forward with a demand to waive toll for the residents of the satellite city. Corporators, cutting across party lines, requested Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation commissioner Abasaheb Jarhad to communicate the sentiments of the elected representatives to the state government.
Raising the matter during the standing committee meeting on Wednesday, NCP corporator Shivram Patil pointed at the agitation currently underway in Kolhapur and demanded a waiver on the toll on vehicles from Navi Mumbai. “We have been paying toll for the 20-22 years and it is high time that Navi Mumbai is made toll free,” said Patil.
His party colleague and corporator from Airoli, MK Madhvi, brought to the notice of the commissioner the earlier practice wherein letters issued by corporators to people in their ward were considered for a toll waiver. “We have toll booths in Vashi and Airoli. Navi Mumbaikars have to pay the money each time they enter the city. Earlier, a letter issued by corporators would be considered for a toll waiver, but after some elected representatives started misusing this authority and collected money from people, the practice was stopped. In other parts of the state, those living within 8-10 km radius of the toll booth have received a waiver after they produced any address proof. Why should residents of Navi Mumbai be an exception to this?” questioned Madhvi.
He also pointed out that the issue of toll agitation in Kolhapur was entirely different as the civic body there had authorised construction of roads on built-operate-transfer basis. “The Kolhapur civic body, during its general body meeting, had cleared the resolution to award contract to IRB for construction of roads on build-operate-transfer. The company was supposed to start taking toll upon the construction of 95% roads in the city, but since it began collecting it earlier, angry people hit the streets,” said Madhvi.
“We are aware that neither this committee nor the civic administration is authorised to take a decision on the matter. However, we would like the municipal commissioner to consider the sentiments of elected representatives and convey it to the state government. Information obtained under RTI has revealed that the company, which constructed the roads, has already recovered its construction costs,” he said.
Congress corporator Santosh Shetty said, “It is not only toll, but also railway surcharge that Navi Mumbaikars have beem paying for years. If no decision is arrived at, we will have no option but to launch an agitation to achieve toll waiver for Navi Mumbaikars.”
Jarhad informed the members that the civic body will write a request letter to the state government in this regard.
Taking a toll
During the standing committee meeting on Wednesday, NCP corporator Shivram Patil pointed at the agitation currently underway in Kolhapur and demanded a waiver on the toll on vehicles from Navi Mumbai
Municipal commissioner Jarhad informed the members that the civic body will write a request letter to the state government.