It is now official: Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assemblies will be exempted from paying toll tax on National Highways.
At the same time, the common man will now have to pay toll on two-lane highways that have incurred an upgrade cost of Rs 2.5 crore and more.
The Pranab Mukherjee-headed Empowered Group of Ministers (EGOM) in a meeting on Wednesday also approved a draft proposal to reduce the distance between two toll fee plazas from the existing 80 km to 60 km.
As reported by the Hindustan Times on January 13, the Transport Minister Kamal Nath had moved a cabinet note to the Prime
Minister's Office, suggesting that MPs and MLAs be retained in the category of individuals not required to pay roads toll.
The National Highways (NH) fee rules of 1997 permitted immunity from toll tax to MPs and MLAs. The draft rules of 2008 suggested that MPs and MLAs be taken off the exempted list — a proposal that was hugely resisted in political circles.
Vehicles plying double-lane roads that have incurred an upgrade cost of Rs.2.5 crore and above will now be required to pay 60 percent of the rates provided for the four lane highways.
Running through small towns and cities, the double-lane highways constitute as much as 53 percent of the total NH length of 71,000 kilometers.
Constituting the main arteries of the nation’s roads network, single and double-lane roads together add up to 74 per cent of the country’s total length of highways.
So far, no toll was levied on single and double-lane roads.
The EGOM has also approved proposals for fee levy on overloaded vehicles.
Interestingly, categories of individuals taken off the toll exempted list includes gallantry award winners, post and telegraph and funeral vehicles.
Besides MPs and MLAs, other exempted categories include the Chief Justices and judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts.