Amid the raging controversy over opening of a toll plaza at Kharghar on Sion-Panvel highway in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil said that the state government is “not in a position” to buy back the road developed at a cost of Rs. 1,700 crore.
The government is working on a serious plan, which on implementation would ease the toll burden on four-wheelers, he said.
“The Kharghar toll naka was designed five years back. We have only implemented it, that too, after delaying it for two months. We had no other option as the High Court ordered us to do so (start the toll plaza) with immediate effect,” said Patil.
“The cost to build that particular stretch of road (Sion-Panvel highway) is Rs. 1,185 crore. If we were to buy back the road from the agency, we will have to pay around Rs. 1,700 crore, including interest. The government is not in a position to pay such an amount of money,” said Patil, who is also the co-operation minister.
“To make sure people living in the vicinity of the toll plaza do not face hassles, five villages around the booth have been exempted from paying tax. Also the entire industrial area around the booth has been given relief,” he said.
Patil said that the government is also in the process of identifying around 30-32 villages that can be exempted from paying toll tax.
The government is committed towards a long term solution for toll plazas in the state, while the short term goal is to ensure hassle-free commute for people living around the Kharghar toll booth.
“We are trying hard to come up with a plan, by which four-wheelers could be exempted from paying taxes. We are trying to see if we can shift the toll burden on heavy vehicles, to compensate four-wheelers. It’s in a planning stage. We have been in power only for two months now,” Patil said.