BJP government, which in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections had promised to abolish toll in the state. The toll collection that commenced on Monday night, will charge commuters traveling towards Panvel and beyond Rs 30 more for a one-way trip. The commencement of operations by the Sion Panvel Tollways Project Limited (SPTPL) means that a new toll plaza has come up in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region after a gap of 66 months, that too during the term of the BJP government, which in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections had promised to abolish toll in the state.
The BJP government has, meanwhile, claimed that there is no immediate plan of withdrawing the toll.earlier. The BJP government has, meanwhile, claimed that there is no immediate plan of withdrawing the toll. “The state government has never said that it will abolish toll. This project was sanctioned five years back and inspite of the government being in power for more than two months we did not give them sanction to collect toll. The operators had approached the Bombay High Court which ordered the state to give the sanction. We have given the go ahead for toll collection because of the Court’s order,” PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil said. Patil also claimed that his party had never given an assurance of abolishing toll and any move in that direction was unlikely.
Meanwhile, local activists are not happy that only five villages of Panvel, New Panvel, Kamothe, Kalamboli and Kharghar have been exempted from paying toll. They have claimed that the entire toll collection should be scrapped. Local MLA Prashant Thakur had quit the Congress and fought the elections on a BJP ticket after opposing the toll collection in Kharghar. Thakur claimed that the he would ensure that the BJP government gave a complete waiver to local residents. “My fight to ensure that all residents of nearby areas are exempted will continue. I am in talks with the government which is presently looking at ways to find a solution to this problem,” Panvel MLA Prashant Thakur said. Parties like the Peasants and Workers Party of India have however claimed that they will continue to agitate against the BJP government which has gone back on its word after promising to withdraw toll.