The Regional Transport Office (RTO) of Thane has issued 856 toll-free passes to state transport (ST) buses and private vehicles heading to Konkan with devotees for Ganpati festival.
On September 7, passes were issued to 130 ST buses and 30 private vehicles. On September 8, 600 ST buses and 96 private vehicles got toll-free passes.
“The process will continue today (September 9). Persons or operators concerned should approach the local RTO offices with residential documents like Aadhar card and documents of the vehicle to get the pass,” an official from Thane RTO said. He added that many travellers use the Mumbai-Goa highway, which has very few toll booths. “However, due to potholes many devotees are using the Pune and Kolhapur road to reach Konkan. In such cases these passes are beneficial, as otherwise it costs at least Rs 1,000,” the official said. The Thane RTO has opened two windows, where officials issue passes with exemplary speed.
Every year, lakhs of devotees travel to Konkan to celebrate the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. To bring relief ahead of the festive season, a meeting was held between the public works department, the home department and the district administration to ensure safe and smooth travel this year. The announcement for a toll-free journey was made by Cabinet minister of Urban Development and Public Works, Eknath Shinde.
However, many people claim the move is to confuse the devotees as the roads are completely covered with potholes that lead to increased travel time.