12 toll plazas are to be shut

Mumbai :  In a major policy decision, the state government on Friday decided to close down 12 toll plazas and also exempt light motor vehicles like cars and jeeps and State Transport buses from paying tolls on 53 other toll plazas across the state.

However, the decision won’t give any relief to Mumbaikars as they would not be entitled to any exemption at any of the Mumbai Entry Point toll plazas.

The decision to exempt light motor vehicles would apply to 19 projects of PWD that has 27 toll plazas and 12 projects of the MSRDC that has 26 toll plazas; the plazas that would be closed down include 11 of the PWD and one of the MSRDC. The decision regarding these 65 out of a total 80 toll plazas in the state would be applicable from June 1, 2015, and a committee would take a decision on toll plazas in Mumbai and Kolhapur by July 31, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told the assembly. Interestingly, there was no announcement regarding increasing the toll on heavy vehicles.

The state is expected to shell out over Rs 500 crore to implement the decision that would be a major relief for motorists and public transport users. “The committee would look into the financial and legal liabilities of the other toll plazas in Mumbai and Kolhapur and give their suggestions,” Fadnavis said.

The higher number of small vehicles like cars (90%, as against 35% on other toll nakas), which use the Mumbai-Pune expressway and the Mumbai Entry Points, makes it unviable for the state to reimburse the toll contractors for such waivers on these projects, Fadnavis told reporters later.

The state will pay Rs 405 crore to the PWD and the MSRDC toll project developers and contractors as compensation in lieu of the toll waiver for four-vehicles and ST buses.

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