No urgent hearing for ‘Toll Mukt Maharashtra’: Bombay High Court

The petition filed by activist Praveen Wategaonkar, requesting stay on the collection of toll at Mumbai-Pune expressway

Staff ReporterUpdated: Tuesday, December 17, 2019, 07:07 AM IST
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Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday refused to grant an urgent hearing to a petition seeking the effective implementation of ‘Toll Mukt Maharashtra’ policy of the state government and an order to stop toll collection on the Mumbai-Pune expressway. HC is likely to take up the matter for hearing after Christmas vacations.

The petition filed by activist Praveen Wategaonkar, requesting stay on the collection of toll at Mumbai-Pune expressway, was mentioned before a bench of Justices Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari and Riyaz Chagla, seeking an urgent hearing. The bench, however, asked Wategaonkar to come up again after Christmas vacations.

Wategaonkar has filed a petition against the toll collection on the Mumbai-Pune expressway, claiming the same is illegal. He has claimed that by allowing the collection, the government is acting contrary to its own Toll Mukt Maharashtra policy.

According to Wategaonkar, the total cost recoverable of Mumbai-Pune expressway on its day of construction, August 8, 2004, was Rs 3,632 crores. He has further said that the toll collection rights for 15 years period ended on August 8, 2019.

“The toll collection rights were awarded for an upfront payment of Rs 918 crore. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has assessed the bid net present value at Rs 4,266 crore, which is much higher than the upfront payment made of Rs 918 crore,” Wategaonkar has claimed in his petition.

“The total recoverable cost was Rs 3,632 crore till August 8, 2019. However, the continuation of toll collection from August 9, 2019 is unlawful and contrary to public interest,” Wategaonkar has alleged.

Accordingly, he has urged the court to issue orders to MSRDC to spell, on an affidavit, the total revenue generated by the collection of toll. He has also urged the court to order stay on further toll collection.

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