Slamming what he described as the day-and-night robbery by toll plazas in the state, People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) president Manpreet Singh Badal on Monday demanded that this must stop and if at all the issues involved were legal, the toll rates should be rationalised.
“What has come as a big shock is that the rate that the toll plaza company proposes to charge from the people using the Kurali-Siswan stretch would be a staggering Rs 6 per km, the highest in the state. This is the one-way rate and the person commuting on this highway by car would have to pay almost double the amount,” he added.
Manpreet pointed out that all the more shocking was the revelation that the state government signed the agreement with the company under the PPP (public-private partnership) model on December 31, 2012, as per the policy for 2004, while the rate was to be lower in accordance with the policy to come into effect from January 1, 2013.
“This toll of Rs 6 per km includes the use of four bridges on this 15 km stretch of highway that connects Kurali with Baddi in Himachal Pradesh. However, only two bridges have been completed so far,” Manpreet added.
He said now the rates of some other tolls in the state too were being increased from April 1. He said the people were already agitated over the high rates of tolls. The authorities concerned must have a rethink and evolve the model which must take care of the interests of the people also and not just the companies involved. Moreover, the new model had failed to improve the condition of the roads which continued to be as bad as before.
Badal recalled that the SAD used to criticise the policy of toll roads and the same policy continued to be followed and now had come the shocker that would be the rate of Rs. 6 per km. He adds that the present model was unsuitable and necessary improvement were needed to take into account the concerns of all the stakeholders concerned, mainly the users.