Before the Lok Sabha poll, the government's toll policy is set to become more aam aadmi friendly.
Road minister CP Joshi told HT that the toll policy that is being amended aims to check harassment of commuters. "Commuters interest would be our main priority. There have been frequent complaints from commuters that they are forced to pay hefty toll while travelling on highways under upgrade or repair and are not getting better service despite paying toll," Joshi said.
So far "commuter interest" was rarely the priority while framing toll policies. The focus was only on generating revenue for the highway sector.
Joshi said the proposed amendments have been necessitated as there are several anomalies in the two toll policies - framed in 1997 and redrafted in 2008 - which the ministry follows. "Highways that came up before 2008 follow the 1997 toll rules having a different set of rates. In 2008 the rules were revised but the old highway stretches did not shift to the revised rules. This has resulted in several discrepancies which we are trying to address," he said.
For instance, commuters have to pay more toll while travelling on highways under expansion. This is being amended to cap the toll on all such highways under expansion to 80 % of the normal toll for the entire duration of construction. The policy is also being made uniform to give relief to local commuters by exempting them from paying toll.