Amidst growing anger over having to pay toll on poorly-maintained highways, Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday made it clear that there is no plan to scrap the user charge.
“If you want good service, you will have to pay toll,” Gadkari said at the Economic Editor’s Conference in New Delhi. He said that since 2014 his ministry had abolished toll worth up to `100 crore on 67 highway projects where either the cost had been recovered or projects where collection of toll had become unviable.
His remarks came on the heels of the Supreme Court refusing to stay the Allahabad high court’s order asking the operator of the DND flyway between Delhi and Noida to stop collecting the user charge. Before this, the government had to shut the Delhi-Gurgaon toll plazas due to massive traffic jams.
On the highways sector, Gadkari said that as against the target of constructing 15,000km in 2016-17, the ministry has already completed 3,591km. “This comes to building around 22km per day. We hope to reach 42km per day by March end. There will be investment worth `25 lakh crore in highways and shipping in five years. Highway projects worth approximately `3.17 lakh crore has already been awarded,” he said.