The election promise of toll free Maharashtra is resulting in a compensation of Rs 8798.79 crores for the road builders by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) and the PWD as per the information provided by the latter to RTI activist Anil Galgali. This compensation would be paid yearly upto year 2039 which works out to a load of Rs 353 crores per year on the exchequer.
Galgali had sought information from the PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil about the details of the toll booths closed and also about those which has been exempted. In a reply, Shailendra Borse informed Galgali that, PWD’s 19 projects having a total of 27 toll nakas, cars, jeep, state transport buses and school buses have been exempted from paying toll, due to which the department is paying Rs 179.69 crores to the road contractor for the year 2015-16. This amount has to be paid yearly for next 25 years until financial year 2039-40, which will totally cost Rs 7377.44 crores. Similarly on the 12 projects under MSRDC, 26 toll nakas are functional on which the cars, jeep, state transport buses and school buses have been given exemptions, which will cost the exchequer Rs 284.27 crores for the financial year 2015-16. This sum has to be paid upto 2019-20 totalling Rs 1421.35 crores.
Anil Galgali said, “Instead of taking strong action against people who are looting the public and government in the name of toll tax, the administration is very lenient towards them. Audit of those companies involved in the business of toll collection should have been conducted instead.”