Mumbai: The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) will be protecting the Mumbai-Pune Expressway toll money in an escrow account.
A senior official from MSRDC explained that the toll collecting agency’s contract expired in August 2019. Thereafter, a new tender was floated for appointment of an agency for another 11 years, wherein the previous bidder IRB (Ideal Road Builders) Infrastructure turned out to be the only one who applied for the toll rights.
Furthermore, he stated: “The toll rights are being sold for Rs 8,534 crore and the upfront payment is of Rs 6,500 crore. The agency can pay it by June 2020. In March itself the agency will be allowed to collect the toll.
Therefore, as decided, until the selected agency (IRB Infra) makes the upfront payment, the four months’ (March to June) toll money will be deposited in the escrow account. Neither the toll collecting agency nor the MSRDC will be able to use this money.”
Later, MSRDC will be utilising the money for repayment of Mumbai-Pune missing link (augmentation) project, said the official.
Meanwhile, the toll rates on the Expressway are set to increase from April 1. According to an MSRDC official, after every three years, the authority as allowed by the state can increase the toll rates with 18 per cent. Since the toll rates on the Expressway were revised in 2017, the next change is due in April 2020. The new toll rates for cars will increase from Rs 230 to Rs 270. F
or minibuses it will rise from Rs 355 to Rs 420, for trucks and heavy axle vehicles it will increase from Rs 493 to Rs 580. For buses it will go up from Rs 675 to Rs 797, while for large trucks it will increase from Rs 1,165-1,555 to Rs 1,380 to Rs 1,835.
IRB Infrastructure had been collecting toll on the Expressway for the last 16 years. Currently, Sahakar Global has been appointed to collect toll as a temporary arrangement since IRB Infra contract expired in August 2019.
The Mumbai-Pune Expressway was constructed at a cost of Rs 1630 crore in 2002. In 2004, the MSRDC signed an agreement with IRB Infrastructure and received a total of Rs 1301 crore over 16 years. Having failed to recover the project cost, the state had allowed the MSRDC to continue charging toll.