Decision on toll waiver in Mumbai delayed

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Mumbai-delayedThe decision on waiving toll from vehicles entering Mumbai through five points has been delayed by at least three months as the Maharashtra government wants to further study the issue, which involves hundreds of crores, with “better” statistics.

A high-powered committee, which went into the toll exemption issue and submitted its report to the government yesterday, has been asked by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to come up with better statistics in three months.

“The committee submitted its report, but more work is needed before vehicles can be given relief from paying tax. The issue of exempting toll at these points is very big and involves a lot of money.

“After seeing the report, the CM asked the committee to take three more months, but come up with better statistics,” PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil said.

The toll booths in question are located at Vashi, Dahisar, Mulund, Airoli and LBS Marg and the collection is done by contractors selected by Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC).

He said one of the options the committee, headed by Additional Chief Secretary (PWD) Anand Kulkarni, studied was to exempt small vehicles from paying road tax and pass on the burden to big vehicles.

But figures need to be worked out properly as 70 per cent of vehicles passing through these booths are small vehicles, he said.

“The other option is to completely waive the toll at all these booths,” he said.

Patil said roughly Rs. 2,000 crore will be required to be paid to the contractors if toll is done away with completely.

Patil said since MSRDC comes under another Minister Eknath Shinde, he will meet the state-run Corporation’s officials and take a final decision within three months.

“We want to give relief to Mumbaikars from paying toll, but at the same time contractors should not bear losses.

We need to ensure they don’t go to court in future.”

On waiving toll at the nine booths in Kolhapur, Patil said the State Government and the local civic body will share the financial burden arising out of their shutdown.

Patil said the Government has disbursed Rs. 800 crore to contractors for the 63 toll plazas it recently closed.