Congress MLA Nitesh Rane warned of launching an agitation if the Maharashtra government fails to provide toll exemption to commuters visiting Konkan region via Mumbai-Pune Expressway for the upcoming Ganesh festival.
Rane had recently written to the Maharashtra PWD ministry seeking the toll exemption.
“It has been almost three weeks since I wrote the letter to the Maharashtra PWD Ministry seeking the toll exemption,” Nitesh, son of former Maharashtra chief minister Narayan Rane, told reporters here.
“But, unfortunately, no response has been given to me yet. This forces me to assume that the government is not willing to provide toll relief to people of the Konkan region,” he said.
“If the demands are not met, especially in the backdrop of the bridge collapse at Mahad, I will come out with my supporters at the toll plazas (on the E-way) and oppose levying of the toll,” said the MLA, who represents Kankawali Assembly Constituency in Sindhudurg district.
Rane also asked bus drivers to display a banner with Konkan written on it at the the front side of windscreen.
“After the bridge collapse at Mahad, people are forced to take the E-way to reach Konkan, which has already compounded their problems,” he claimed.
As per the MLA, people are using the E-way also because of the “inefficiency” of the Maharashtra government in properly maintaining and improving the Mumbai-Goa Highway.
“During the (recently-concluded) Assembly session, the government had told the Legislature that the condition of Mumbai-Goa highway, currently riddled with huge potholes, will be improved before the Ganeshotsav season. But, the government failed to live up to its promise,” he alleged.
“Why should the people pay toll at the Mumbai-Pune Expressway because of the inefficiency of the government? The Mahad tragedy on the Mumbai-Goa highway has only worsened the condition of travellers, who will now be forced to use the Mumbai-Pune expressway in large numbers,” he said.
A large number of people, mainly those hailing from Konkan and employed in Mumbai, head to their villages in the coastal districts to celebrate the 10-day festival.