The issue of excess toll fee collection has taken a new turn with the Pravasi Mal Vahatuk Mahasangh, a statewide transporters organisation, demanding immediate implementation of the Centre’s notification of 50 per cent toll concession on national highways for vehicles registered in their respective districts.
According to the notification issued by the Centre, toll plazas located on national highways of every district should give 50 per cent concession to all vehicles that are registered in that particular district. This means that all toll plazas in the district should give 50 per cent concession to vehicles registered in the district (No. MH 12, MH 14 and MH 42).
The Centre issued the notification six months ago and it was recently implemented in Mumbai and Thane. The same has not been done in the district. “Central government has given clear written instruction and we are continuously following up, but tollbooths are not ready to implement. It was implemented in Mumbai and Thane after owners of commercial vehicles agitated. We have given a one-month deadline to National Highways Authority of India to implement it, after which we will block the highways by parking our trucks at toll plazas,” said Baba Shinde, president of Pravasi Mal Vahatuk Mahasangh.
He added that a meeting will be held with C P Joshi, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways between 18 to 22 June to discuss the issue. “All MPs and representatives of Commercial Vehicle Organizations will attend the meeting.” Shinde said.
Warkari leader Bandatatya Karadkar recently issued an agitation threat to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and gave a deadline July 15 to scrap the toll booth at Perane Phata. Retired Justice B G Kolse Patil and 25 civil organisations have joined him, including Grahak Panchayat, Sajag Nagrik Manch, Krantiveer Pratishthan, Vyasanmukt Yuvak Sangh, Maharashtra and Shetkari Sanghatana. They have collectively warned of violent agitation if the state government fails to fulfil their demands.
Vivek Velankar, president, Sajag Nagrik Manch said, “Toll plazas are like daylight robbery without any transparency. Ideally, toll rate should be reduced year by year as road construction charges are being recovered.”
Toll booths in question
According to the notification by the Centre, vehicles registered in the city should get 50 per cent concession at the following toll booths on national highways:
>> Khed Shivapur toll plaza (Pune-Satara highway)
>> Shikrapur toll plaza (Pune-Ahamadnagar)
>> Talegaon toll plaza (Pune-Mumbai)
>> Theur toll plaza (Pune-Solapur)
>> Rajgurunagar toll plaza (Pune-Nashik)