Toll Plaza Row: State Govt Succumbs To MNS

Toll Plaza Row: State Govt Succumbs To MNS

MPCC spokesperson Atul Londhe said it was most unbecoming of PWD minister Dadaji Bhuse going to the penthouse of MNS chief Raj Thackeray in Shivaji Park to discuss the toll issue.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Friday, October 13, 2023, 11:27 PM IST
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MNS party flag | Photo credits: MNS Adhikrut/Twitter

Mumbai: The Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) on Friday denounced the state government for taking decisions at the homes of political leaders. MPCC spokesperson Atul Londhe said it was most unbecoming of PWD minister Dadaji Bhuse going to the penthouse of MNS chief Raj Thackeray in Shivaji Park to discuss the toll issue. Bhise not only discussed the issue with the MNS leader, but also held a joint presser with him to announce the decision taken at the meeting. "The government should make decisions at cabinet meetings and not in homes," Londhe said while lashing out at the state government in general and Bhuse in particular.

Londhe noted that Mr Bhuse went to Thackeray's residence after MNS members vandalised toll booths in several parts of the state. "The Shinde-Fadnavis government has crossed all limits. Going to Raj Thackeray's residence is like allowing him to run a parallel government. Whenever opposition makes a demand the decision needs to be made in cabinet and not by sending a minister to anybody's residence," Londhe added.

Government of morons sent wrong message to people: Londhe

"The government of morons that has lost the trust of people has sent out a wrong message today to the people,” he alleged.  

After the meeting, Bhuse claimed that the government is committed to transparency and reforms in toll collection, which would be rolled out shortly. He stated this at a joint presser with Thackeray said at a joint press conference on Friday morning. 

A delegation of MNS leader under the leadership of Thackeray had met Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Thursday. To follow up the deliberations during that meeting, PWD minister Bhuse called on the MNS Chief at his residence. After a detailed discussion, both the leaders addressed a joint press conference.

“Within two weeks, CCTVs shall be installed at all the toll booths at the five Mumbai Entry Points (MEPs) and a control room will be set up in Mantralaya to monitor them,” Thackeray said, adding that the digital display will indicate how much toll the contractor has collected as per the tender and how much is left balance to enable the people know the correct financials of the concerned toll booth.

Rules to be implemented

The government will also ensure that no vehicle is required to halt for more than four minutes at the toll-posts and those outside the ‘yellow line’ (indicating a traffic jam) will be allowed to pass without paying the road toll tax, the MNS will construct public conveniences near some of the tollbooths, and keep a watch over the goings-on.

The MNS had demanded a closure of 29 old toll-booths belonging to the PWD Department and 15 of Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) to which Bhuse said the government will consider and take a decision on it shortly.

The MNS had carried out major protests at various toll-booths in Mumbai, Thane, Raigad, Nashik and other places after Thackeray warned of ‘burning the toll-posts’ if small/light vehicles were forced to pay the road toll tax, rattling the government.

The assurance given by government include:

- Govt to install cameras at toll plazas to count number of vehicles passing the toll gates for next 15 days. The MNS too shall install such cameras.

-  All the amenities mentioned in the contract like rest rooms, first aid services, ambulance and emergency lights should be made available on all toll plazas.

- System will be developed at Mantralaya to receive complaints. A mobile number will be given to register grievances about toll plazas.

- All the bridges and under passes mentioned in contract would undergo a structural audit by the IIT.

- Decision on toll fee hike reversal in Thane in a month.

- Restoration on yellow line on all toll gates. Vehicles outside the yellow line would be left without charging toll.

- No double charge in case of inoperative Fastag. Complaint can be filed if a message come to mobile regarding double charge.

- Implementation of the rule to close toll collection on defaced roads under central government to be implemented within 15 days by consulting the central authorities.

- CAG audit to be conducted for toll collection at Mumbai Entray Points (MEP), Mumbai-Pune Express way and Rajiv Gandhi Sea link.

- Disciplining the heavy vehicles within next 15 days.

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