From May 13, Mumbaiites heading towards Nashik, Kalyan or Pune using the Mumbai-Nashik Highway won’t have to pay toll at Kharegaon toll plaza.
Reason: its concession agreement gets over on May 13, which means the plaza will be shut.
Kharegaon toll plaza, which was Maharashtra’s first toll plaza, is situated on the Thane-Bhiwandi bypass road along the Mumbai Nashik Highway. It is also the first road project in India which was undertaken on a build-operate-transfer basis.
Vivek Deosthali, spokesperson of IRB, said, “The concession agreement of the road is ending on May 13. So we will stop the collection after May 13.”
Thane district has 18 toll nakas, with this toll plaza being the prime one. It sees major traffic snarls during peak hours.
Thousands of vehicles commute from Kharegaon toll naka daily, including heavy vehicles going towards godowns in Bhiwandi or Nashik.
The work on Bhiwandi bypass road was completed in 1997 and toll collection started from 1998. The company has earned Rs677 crore till December last year through toll. The cost of the project was Rs104 crore, while the total cost along with the maintenance comes to Rs180 crore. The company has been collecting toll from 1998, but the details of the money collected are available only from 2002, when the authorised resolution was passed by the government.
Chandrahas Tawade, RTI activist from Thane, who filed an RTI on recovery of toll, said, “The amount collected as toll from the company is much higher than the cost incurred on construction and maintenance of the road. The toll should have been stopped years ago.”
The company claimed the cost of maintenance is much higher and the company has not made profits.
Deosthali said, “The toll recovery is as per the concession agreement with the PWD.”