The Maharashtra government has decided to exempt light motor vehicles, including cars, from paying toll tax at 61 toll collection points across the state. However, the exemption will not be applicable in five toll collection entry/exit points of Mumbai, on the Bandra-Worli sea link and the Mumbai-Pune expressway, as smaller vehicles form almost 90% of the total traffic in these stretches.
The decision will be applicable to toll collection points at Kharghar in Navi Mumbai and Bhiwandi near Thane.
Sources said the state has taken the decision to exempt smaller vehicles, including cars and sports utility vehicles, on the basis of the report by CP Joshi Committee, which was appointed by the government to look into the demand for scrapping toll in the state. During its campaign before the Assembly elections, the BJP had promised to scrap toll in the state. Since the decision is not feasible due to huge financial costs involved, the state has decided to exempt private vehicles used for personal travel from the toll.
According to the report of the committee, 35% of vehicles that pay toll across the state are smaller vehicles. The exemption will be implemented on about 60 toll nakas on roads maintained by the Public Works Department and Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation.
However, the smaller vehicles on the five nakas on Mumbai entry points and the three toll nakas on the Mumbai-Pune express highway will continue to pay toll taxes. Smaller vehicles on these eight toll nakas could not be included as the percentage of the LMVs and SUVs is about 90% and the government cost would be around Rs 30,000 crore, said sources.
The government has also decided to buy back 11 toll nakas, which are nearing completion within the remaining contract period of three to four years. This would cost about Rs300 crore to the state exchequer.
State’s public works minister Chandrakant Patil told HT: “An official announcement would be made by the chief minister soon.”
“We are unlikely to pass on the burden to heavy vehicles or contractors. The government will bear the burden,” a PWD official said.