Sachin Tendulkar speaks up for toll-troubled Mumbaikars

Cricket legend and Rajya Sabha MP Sachin Tendulkar has written to the CM, asking him to address the many problems related to toll gates, saying they take a “physical and mental toll on citizens who travel in and out of the city”

In his 24-year-long international cricket career, Sachin Tendulkar thrived on his drives that pierced the field on both sides of the wicket. Now, in his post-playing years, the 41-year-old legend wants to ensure that your drive becomes hassle-free.

Also read: Tolls set to go up tomorrow, but services nowhere in sight

Sachin Tendulkar was spotted stuck in a long queue at the Kharghar toll naka while on his way to Lonavla around two weeks ago
Sachin Tendulkar was spotted stuck in a long queue at the Kharghar toll naka while on his way to Lonavla around two weeks ago

The Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament has stepped out of his crease, as it were, and dashed off a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, urging him to ensure that motorists have an easier time navigating the commercial capital of India.

Tendulkar had found himself stuck at the toll plaza in Kharghar a fortnight ago, giving fans an opportunity to see the legend in the flesh
Tendulkar had found himself stuck at the toll plaza in Kharghar a fortnight ago, giving fans an opportunity to see the legend in the flesh

In the February 20 letter written on his MP letterhead, the Master Blaster has taken up the issues concerning the operation of toll plazas in the city, which cause traffic snarls and act as bottlenecks, and requested the CM to address them “to reduce the physical and mental toll on citizens”.

'Why add more?'
Listing out the toll gates along the periphery of the city, Tendulkar has mentioned the addition of the toll plaza at Kharghar which has been a sore point with citizens and pointed out that there is a need for a re-look at the number.

A mid-day report from September 2014
A mid-day report from September 2014

“With the growth of the city, there is a lot of travel that happens from the satellite towns especially Vashi and Thane. In this context, there is a need to relook at the number of toll gates rather than keep adding to the list. These tolls have become major road blocks resulting in traffic snarls, burning precious fuel and adding to the pollution levels,” the MP has said in his letter.

The letter also focuses on the recent hike in toll charges leading to traffic congestion at tollgates due to shortage of change. The Vashi toll naka, for instance (where the charge for cars has gone up from Rs 30 to Rs 35 and for light commercial vehicles from R40 to R45), has been witnessing even longer queues since the hike came into effect last year, because of the lack of change with motorists as well as toll collectors.

Quality control and tech
The MP has also raised the issue of the quality of toll roads. “It is also pertinent to point that while toll is collected, there is no quality control on the roads with the roads leading to Vashi and Airoli bridges being cases in point,” the letter states.

Tendulkar has also highlighted the need to “invest in technology to help alleviate the limitations of collecting toll including using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) enabled cards within India and other similar solutions in use in other parts of the world”.

Taking up a very important issue, Tendulkar has also requested the chief minister to ensure that there is a dedicated and open lane for ambulances, regardless of traffic and time of day. The ace batsman concludes his letter by requesting the chief minister to take up the issues brought up by him to “reduce the anguish of citizens”.

Taking a toll

Toll plazas along the periphery of the city
>> Dahisar Toll Gate 
>> Vashi Bridge Toll Gate 
>> Airoli Bridge Toll Gate 
>> Mulund Toll Gate on Eastern Express highway
>> Mulund Toll Gate at LBS Marg 
>> Ghodbunder Road Toll Gate 
>> Taloja Toll Gate (for entering Kalyan Thane Mumbra)
>> Dombivli Toll Gate (to enter KDMC Shilpata)
>> Kharghar toll plaza

Sustained campaign
The recently-widened Sion-Panvel highway may have reduced travelling time from Mumbai to Panvel, but commuters face a harrowing time at the Vashi toll naka, which is a major bottleneck.

The Toll Plaza at Kharghar has only worsened the situation, causing serious traffic jams. Through a series of reports, mid-day has been highlighting these and other issues relating to toll collection in the city.

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