Maharashtra government paid Rs 798.44 crore as compensation to contractors for shutting down 12 toll plazas and waiving off charge on light vehicles like private cars at 53 check points, according to an RTI reply.
Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) and the Public Work Development (PWD) had to pay Rs 798.44 crore as 'compensation and return' to toll plaza contractors, as per the information obtained by RTI activist Anil Galgali. "Of the 38 toll plazas managed by the PWD, 11 were closed and Rs 226.51 crore paid to contractor as full and final payment," Galgali said quoting the information provided by Under Secretary and Public Information Officer, PWD, Shailendra Borse.
Of the 53 plazas maintained by the MSRDC, only one was closed for which the full and final payment return amounted to Rs 168 crore, he said. Towards exemption on light vehicles at 27 toll plazas, PWD paid the contractors Rs 179.69 crore. MSRDC paid the contractors Rs 224.24 crore towards exemption on light vehicles at 26 toll points.
A committee was formed by the state government last year to explore the possibility of giving relief to people from the five entry points of Mumbai as well as Mumbai-Pune Expressway.
Despite the retirement of additional chief secretary (PWD) Anand Kulkarni who was heading it, the report and recommendations are yet to shape up. As the report was not submitted before Kulkarni's superannuation, Pune-based anti-toll activist Vivek Velankar has appealed to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to suspend the bureaucrat's retirement benefits.