Expressing satisfaction at the progress of the ambitious National Highway Development Project (NDHP), the Economic Survey on Thursday called for levying tolls on roads to ensure completion of Prime Minister's Rs. 58,000-crore highway project on time without extra cost.
NDHP, linking four corners of the country with 4/6 lane highways which can sustain speeds of 80 km per hour, "will transform the movement of goods and people in the country," the pre-Budget economic policy document tabled in Parliament said.
While a Rs. one per litre cess is levied on petrol and diesel to part-fund NHDP, the survey said, "User charges through levying of tolls on roads could be an effective means of supplementing funds, particularly in the future."
The Golden Quadrilateral part of NHDP, which connects four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, has a toll potential of Rs. 3,700 crore per annum from 2004. The same for North-South, East-West corridors, linking Srinagar with Kanyakumari and Silchar with Porbander, is Rs. 4,500 crore per annum.
"The resistance from users can be minimised if there is a saving in terms of time and fuel and toll tax collection machinery is efficient, so that long queues can be avoided," it said.
The survey called for establishing a market-oriented mechanism for future needs like creating new links between cities, and converting some of the 4-lane highways into into 6-lane expressways.