Small four-wheelers to be exempted from toll, says state PWD minister

Nagpur :  The State government is planning to exempt small four wheelers from the ambit of toll, PWD minister Chandrakant Patil told FPJ on Friday.

“We had promised to make the state ‘toll-free’ during the parliamentary and assembly elections. As the first step towards fulfilling the promise, we are thinking of exempting small four wheelers, from the ambit of toll and compensating it with levying an additional tax on bigger vehicles. A feasibility survey is being conducted in this regard,” Patil said.

Toll on Mumbai’s all five entry points began during the BJP-Shive Sena government almost 20 years back. Now, we want free Mumbai from the clutches of toll. That is why we have initiated a scrutiny of the expenditure on the roads and the revenue from the toll collection in past 20 years, Patil said.

He also revealed that a scrutiny of the agreements regarding the toll collection during the UPA regime is also being conducted

Patil also revealed that a scrutiny of the agreements regarding the toll collection during the UPA regimen too is being conducted. Prima facie it appears that the agreements were not drafted by government officials. They appear to have been drafted by the toll collection companies and then signed by the government officials. “We are scrutinising them and take an appropriate action once the scrutiny is complete,” he said.

“We are also against levying toll on old roads. We are scrutinising the expenditure incurred on the old roads and the toll levied on them. Once we get exact figures of the difference, we shall try to derive ways to do away with the toll on such roads,” Patil said. Many old roads were widened, a bridge or two were added to facilitate multiple lanes, and then heavy toll was levied. The minister was firm on doing away with such tolls.

We have also started scrutinising the expenditure on filling potholes. We shall compare it with the expenditure on cemented roads over a certain period and then decide on whether it is more economical to have cemented roads at the first place. We have already initiated dialogue with cement companies, to minimise the expenditure in case it is decided that the state shall have all roads cemented, the PWD minister said. Every year the State government spends crores on maintenance of old roads. We are also scrutinising the expenditure. I intend to minimise the expenditure while enhancing the quality of roads, he said.

“We are also preparing a list of officials against whom there are charges of corruption. I intend to put an end to the last minute expenditure incurred at the end of the financial year. I want the work in the department to be done in a transparent manner and for that I have instructed to go for e-tendering for all the transaction,” he said.

Patil also said that he has come across some tenders which have been allotted in the name of labour societies and educated unemployed engineers. I’ve also started scrutinising such cases, Patil said.

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