Lack of uniformity in toll tax exemptions on different roads leading to Simhastha kumbh fair in Ujjain has surprised Hindu holy men and pilgrims.
Toll tax for vehicles has been exempted on build-operate-transfer roads, including Jhalawad- Agar and Dewas-Badnawar while vehicles plying on the Indore- Ujjain and Jaora- Nagda roads have to pay the toll tax during the fair.
RK Jain, general manager of Madhya Pradesh Road Development Corporation, said the difference in toll tax depended on the contract agreements with the toll road operators.
The contracts for the 134-km Ujjain-Jhalawad road and the 98-km Dewas- Ujjain-Badnawar road have clause to exempt vehicles from toll tax for a period of three months during the Simhastha fair, he said.
Toll tax collection has been stopped on these routes from March 22 and will continue until June 21, he said.
“However, contracts for the 49-km Ujjain- Indore and 95-km Ujjain-Nagda- Jaora roads do not have any such clause so vehicles have to pay toll tax on these routes.”
Collecting of toll tax on the newly built 14 km western bypass in Ujjain will also be suspended during the period, he said. “Toll road operators will be fined if they are found to be collecting tax on roads that are exempted.”
Hindu holy men and pilgrims have demanded that they be exempted from paying toll tax on roads leading to the month-long fair that will start from April 22.
Different policy of toll tax collection has not gone well with the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad – an apex organisation of Hindu ascetics. “We requested the state government to exempt toll tax on roads leading to Simhastha mela, said parishad general secretary Harigiri, who goes by one name.
He said that Hindu holy men are guests of the state government and exempting them from paying toll tax will give a good message of hospitability. Narendra Giri, chief of the parishad, said he will speak to chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and request him to exempt toll.
Rajesh Sharma, a frequent visitor to Indore, said more than 40% of pilgrims travel on Indore road during the fair and collecting toll tax will create traffic snarl and long queue at toll barriers.
Ujjain Municipal Corporation opposition leader Rajendra Vashishtha said when the exempt clause was there in older roads than why the BJP government left the clause out while awarding new contracts.