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Toll nakas to turn transparent

Electronic boards displaying collection details of toll nakas will be installed to minimise corruption, after Anna Hazare threatened to launch an agitation 
 
Noted crusader Anna Hazare's threat to launch an agitation against toll nakas in the state seems to have shaken up the administration, who in a quick response, have decided to revamp the toll nakas.


Feeling the heat: The state's public works department has come
under tremendous pressure since Anna Hazare took up the issue of
corruption at toll nakas. File pic


The state public works department (PWD) has decided to introduce a series of measures to negate unscrupulous activities of operators at toll collection points.

They have decided to install electronic display boards to show details -- date of allotment, amount to be recovered, collection till date and likely period of operation -- of toll collection.

It is important to note that the state PWD has come under tremendous pressure since Hazare took up the issue of corruption at toll nakas.

The toll collection has become a contentious issue with scores of complaints made by motorists over the amount charged and period of toll collection.

Hazare had demanded that boards should be put up displaying the number of vehicles that pass and the amount to be recovered by the toll contractor.

On October 4, a team of PWD officials, comprising department secretary Dhananjay Dhavad visited Hazare's hometown, Ralegan Siddhi, to discuss changes in the recovery of toll and its rate by the contractors appointed by the department.

"Our team went with a sample board to demonstrate to Hazare. To start with three such boards will be displayed on Aurangabad- Ahmednagar state highway toll nakas by next month. If the experiment achieves the desired results, we will install such boards at all the toll nakas by January 26 next year," said Chhagan Bhujbal, state PWD minister.

In addition, the government has decided to introduce a Mahapass with a sensor tag, which will be installed on windscreens of vehicles. A machine fitted at each toll naka will register movement of such vehicles and the required amount will be deducted from the account the vehicle owner.

"The system, used abroad, saves considerable time spent at toll nakas. The Mahapass will be introduced on Pune-Aurangabad and Jalna state highways for which tenders have been floated," said Bhujbal.

Knee-jerk reaction
The response by Democratic Front government is the fall out of Anna Hazare's first letter to the government last year in which he raised several objections over the toll collection system.

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