The Maharashtra Cabinet on Thursday gave nod for 10 per cent increase in toll on heavy vehicles plying on the 15 state highways. The cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, however, was unanimous in its decision to continue with the relief in toll applicable to light vehicles, including cars, jeeps, State Transport and school buses.
The cabinet undertook the revision in view of the rising revenue shortfall because of the Covid-19 crisis and the economic slowdown. The government hopes to mop up Rs 400 crore annually after the toll rate rise.
As per the decision, the toll on car and jeep will continue to be Rs 45. However, for mini bus and tempo it has been jacked to Rs 95 from Rs 75; for truck and bus, it is Rs 200 from Rs 160; for three-axle vehicle Rs 315 from Rs 250; and for a vehicle with more than three axle Rs 475 from Rs 380.
The cabinet observed that these rates were still lower than those charged on the National Highway Authority of India highways. The toll rates range between Rs 100 and 525 on NHAI highways, it pointed out.
There are in all 53 state highways comprising 27 under the jurisdiction of Public Works Department and the balance 26 under the purview of Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation. The revision in toll rates will be now be applicable to 15 of the 27 PWD highways.
The BJP-led government, in a bid to fulfil its poll promise of making Maharashtra toll free, on June 1, 2025, had exempted light vehicles from payment of toll on these 56 highways. Due to the waiver, the government had to shell out Rs 400 crore annually to toll contractors towards compensation.
The Free Press Journal on August 22 had reported that the state government was mulling multiple options, including revision in toll rates, introduction of Amnesty schemes for recovery of long pending arrears, providing permits for country and foreign liquor shops, carry out auction of sand, and increase various fees charged from patients.
There was a revenue shortfall of over Rs 46,106.16 crore in April-September 2020, as against the corresponding period last year.
Against a revenue collection of Rs 1, 37, 557.34 crore (April-September 2019), the government has mopped up Rs 91,451.18 crore. The state government has estimated a revenue collection of Rs 3,47,456.89 crore for 2020-21.