The state government is likely to time its decision on waiving toll tax for small vehicles at five Mumbai entry points by December, just ahead of BMC elections. Instead of buying back toll contracts, the government plans to waive toll tax for small vehicles.
“The finance department is studying the proposal regarding ending toll for small vehicles at Mumbai Entry Points as the decision will have sizable financial implications,” Minister for Public Works Department (PWD) Chandrakant Patil has said.
“We are still working on the exact quantum of money to be paid to MEP. But, according to rough estimates the government might have to pay Rs 250 crore annually for at least the next 10 years to exempt toll for small vehicles,” the minister added.
The decision is taking longer as unlike other states and cities, nearly 85 percent vehicles entering Mumbai are small vehicles and only 15 percent are heavy vehicles, he said.
The five entry points are – Dahisar, Airoli, Vashi, LBS Road and Mulund.
Patil also made it clear that the state government has been following up the issue regarding exempting small vehicles from toll with the central government. “We have been pursuing the issue so that small vehicles in the state would be exempt from the toll on national highways. But, the union government can’t make or change policy for a single state and hence the decision is taking time,” he clarified.
The minister on Monday announced that the PWD will bring all the state highways and major roads under its jurisdiction by 2018 pothole free. The Center has allocated Rs 97,000 crore for upgradation, expansion and widening of the national highways in the state under which the roads will be concreted.
The PWD minister stated that taking note of the paucity of funds for road construction and repairs, the state government was able to convince the Center to upgrade 12,000 Kms of state highways into national highways. Besides this the Center has extended the length of national highways from 7,000 Kms to 20,000 Kms.
The Center has allocated Rs 97,000 crore for strengthening, four laning, concretetisation and land acquisition. Out of which works worth Rs 67,000 crore are to be taken up in the first phase. Commenting upon the need of Over Bridges at level crossings, the minister said that the state had submitted a list of 173 such locations out of which 150 ROBs will be constructed by the Center in the next two years.