The Kharghar toll plaza will be operational from Monday midnight, forcing motorists entering the city to pay an additional toll within a distance of 15km. The permission was given by the state government, after a high court order in favour of the contractor.
The toll plaza on the Sion-Panvel Highway has been mired in controversy for the past few months, with locals opposing its operation. The erstwhile government had put the decision on the backburner to avoid political repercussions ahead of the Assembly elections.
After the contractor moved court against the state, the Bombay high court had asked the state government to throw the plaza operational in 15 days.
“With the period given by the court ending on Tuesday, we had no option, but to allow the contractor to collect toll. We have excluded five villages that are in the proximity of the plaza from toll collections. Around 32 more villages to be exempted from paying toll will be identified in the next eight days. We have also exempted industrial area around the plaza from paying the toll,” said public works minister Chandrakant Patil.
The Rs 1,200- crore project has been developed on a build-operate-transfer (BOT), which included widening and concretisation of the 23-km highway.
Umesh Sonawane, public relations officer, Sion-Panvel Tollways, said, “As per the directive of the Bombay high court with respect to collection of toll, the PWD has issued the requisite notification. As per the notification, citizens of Panvel, Kamothe, Kharghar, Kopra and Kalamboli, who live near the toll naka, are exempted from the payment of toll.”