With anti-toll protests simmering in Maharashtra, the mayor of Navi Mumbai has joined the chorus for doing away with the system of collecting toll in the state.
“We are against the toll system. There should be no tolls. These are policy decisions taken by state and central governments,” Navi Mumbai mayor Sagar Dnyaneshwar Naik said.
Sagar Naik is a member of NCP, which along with the Congress party, runs the coalition government in Maharashtra.
Replying to a Magicbricks user, who sought the mayor’s opinion on the toll issue, Naik said some of the infrastructure is more expensive in the state and there are many sectors that need development. When we have developed many concrete roads in the city, toll system is not required, he further added.
Suspected MNS activists had vandalized toll posts in at least eight cities across Maharashtra between Sunday night and early Monday morning, after party chief Raj Thackeray asked workers not to pay toll and “crush” the toll gates.
The toll posts were attacked in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan, Pune, Aurangabad, Sangli and Nagpur.
In view of the strong anti-toll sentiments among people, Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had last week assured that the issue of toll collection would be reviewed and a new policy would be announced soon.
“Since no public hearing is taking place and also the whole process of toll is not transparent, there is some anger among the people. (But) If toll is not collected, highways will not be built. There should be a regulatory authority,” Chavan had said, while speaking to reporters.
Demand from transporters
Terming the toll policy of the government “non-transparent”, an apex transporters’ body AIMTC has also demanded that road contracts on build, operate and transfer structure be brought under the purview of the Comptroller Auditor General of India.
Pitching for replacing the present system with a transparent one, the industry body in a statement asked that appropriate steps be initiated for bringing the road contracts on BOT basis under “CAG scanner and the lapses, leakages and unmindful concessions to the private players be curbed in the interest of people of the country.”