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Is the Congress-NCP 's offer of making Maharashtra toll-free a winning ticket for the forthcoming Assembly elections?

Wednesday, 11 June 2014 - 7:00am IST | Place: Pune | Agency: dna

The state government has closed down 44 toll collection centres. dna asks readers if the ruling alliance’s offer of making Maharashtra toll-free is a winning ticket for the forthcoming Assembly elections
  • File Photo dna

It is a financial burden on state...

It will put an additional financial burden of Rs346 crore over the state exchequer. We will also appeal to the Central government to close down the toll centres on its national highways. The move will provide significant relief to the people who travel extensively by road with intermittent tolls. The state transport buses are also exempted from paying the toll charges now. The union should also shut down unnecessary toll centres which are on national highways. We have done our job, now. We are now waiting for the central government to perform their job. 
Ajit Pawar, deputy chief minister, Maharashtra 


It’s a farcical move by the govt...
Five years ago, there were 70 state toll collection centres in the state and today we have over 160 toll centres. Just shutting down 44 toll centres is a farcical move by the government. There is no doubt that this step by Congress-NCP is to draw political mileage. The Chakan-Shikrapur was started in January 2000 and franchised to Raj Infrastructure. It’s term period expired on 13, October, 2010. It still functions and in fact has got an extention for another 10 years, till 2020. Why was this favour extended to Raj Infrastructure? They have only collected toll and not maintained the roads.
Ramesh Takalkar, President, Akhil Bharatiya Grahak Panchayat, Pune District 


Toll system is unconstitutional...
I have filed a PIL in the High Court, seven years back against the same toll issues. The HC has directed the central government to reply and over 6 years my case is pending and no reply has come from the centre. Under a new section of the National Highway Act 1956, if the government does not have funds they can ask a third party to invest and develop highways. Now these third parties are allowed to collect toll directly from the road users. This whole process is unconstitutional. It is very obvious to everyone that these are gimmicks for the upcoming assembly polls. This whole concept of toll BOT system is unconstitutional.
SM Mushrif, Former IGP


Don’t mind paying if roads are good...
Congress-NCP deciding to shut 44 toll booths is nothing but a stunt to create hype and gain votes. The situation of roads in regions like Amravati is much worse and we still have to pay toll there knowing the roads are not up to the mark. I am not against the idea of paying toll if the roads are world class. I am sure that after the elections the situation will go back to square one. The opposition parties oppose for months and when the elections come closer, the parties in power, who never wanted to close the tolls decide to close them, why? Because every vote is precious.
Kedar Salvi, Businessman


Punekars are wise...
These gimmicks won’t work this time. It’s more about a corrective action since they had imposed tolls for small size projects which the government could have easily executed from its own funds. The basic concept of BOT projects is for large investment projects which the govt may not be able to accommodate in its budget, like the express highways. However, they stretched it a bit too far when projects worth Rs10 to 15 crore were also done on BOT and toll was charged. Only the election results will tell us if this has worked but I highly doubt it will, the citizens of Pune have become wiser.
Suneel Kulkarni, citizen, frequent Pune-Mumbai traveller


Shutting small toll booths is no help...
The legal procedure is for the collected toll to first go to the government treasury and then proportionally distributed to the firm, that paid for the cost incurred for constructing the road. So the whole procedure that is being followed is extremely flawed and illegal which started when BJP was in power in 1994. When I read the toll booth story in papers, I was convinced that this is due to elections coming up. Tolls booths like the Pune-Nagar road should have been cancelled but they have cancelled few small ones. The leaders know what they’re doing and where this toll money is going.
BG Kolse Patil, Former HC Judge

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