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Will yet another toll bell the Mumbaikar?

Updated on: 26 August,2023 07:31 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sameer Surve |

Even as it invites a tender for Versova-Dahisar Link Road project, BMC has not decided if it will be kept toll free like Coastal Road from Worli to Nariman Point

Will yet another toll bell the Mumbaikar?

The main junction of the proposed Dahisar-Versova Link Road at Malad West. Pic/Anurag Ahire

Even as MLA Aaditya Thackeray has called for the closure of toll booths at Mumbai’s five entry points, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is still deliberating on whether toll should apply to the proposed Versova-Dahisar Link Road (VDLR).

The BMC had decided that the Coastal Road from Worli to Nariman Point will be toll-free before starting the project. It has invited a tender worth Rs 16,612 crore for the Versova-Dahisar Link Road project which is part of the Western Coast High-Speed Corridor.

Senior BMC officials said whether the link road is to be kept toll free is currently not in consideration. Municipal Commissioner I S Chahal said no decision has been taken yet about the toll.

The cost of the Western Coast High-Speed Corridor is around Rs 35,112 crore including taxes and land acquisition. It will be the BMC’s costliest project so far. The VDLR is divided into six stages which include elevated roads, cable-stayed bridges and tunnels.

‘Why have toll?’

“If the VDLR has toll, it will defeat the very purpose for which it is being built, which is an alternative commuting medium. We urge the authorities to keep it toll-free,” said Dhaval Shah, director, Andheri Lokhandwala Oshiwara Citizen’s Association.

“When citizens are already burdened with road taxes, municipal dues, and vehicle purchase levies, adding a toll booth upon constructing a new road is not public service; it’s systematic extortion in plain sight,” said advocate Trivankumar Karnani, founder, Mumbai North Central District Forum.

“About 15 per cent share of property tax is levied as road tax. The BMC is going to spend money on citizens. Why do they need a toll? Surely we will oppose it if BMC thinks of implementing toll tax on this road,” said former Mayor Kishori Pednekar.

‘Toll is needed’

Transport expert Ashok Datar feels there is a need for toll tax on VDLR. “The BMC is going to spend Rs 35,000 crore on this project which only cars can use. Why should all other citizens pay for this project? If the BMC does not collect toll on this road it will be injustice to those who don’t have cars,” he said.

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