Mumbai's coastal road may reduce your travel time, but it also promises to make your pockets lighter.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), in a detailed draft project report, has said it will collect toll on the coastal road for 30 years, going back on a state government promise to keep the road toll-free.
While proposing the idea of the coastal road, the government had said the freeway will not only be toll free, but also allow mass transport. At present, only the Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) is part of the plan.
The detailed report lists where toll will be collected, how it will be calculated and how much revenue it is expected to collect. The report said the toll will provide the principal income for the project.
So, car owners may have to pay between Rs 30 and Rs 40.
Heavier vehicles such as buses and trucks will pay more. After the first few years, the BMC is likely to increase the rates by 5% annually.
Officials said toll collection on the coastal road is debatable. “When toll is collected for the Bandra-Worli sea link, then why not the coastal road? The need for toll is for the operation and maintenance of the road,” a civic official said.
Approximately Rs 4,082.79 crore will be the revenue from the toll, the BMC estimates.
The draft plan has also pointed out the effect the road will have on the landing points used by fishermen in south Mumbai, the Bandra-Khar belt and Juhu. Damage to mangroves has also been highlighted.
“A total of 3.35km area of mangrove land will be affected. There are certain points that are used by fishermen for business everyday, but an alternative for them will be looked at before the coastal road is built,” said a senior official.
Some transport experts junked the project on the whole.
“The coastal road is not going to solve road congestion woes; it will only increase the number of private cars and create bottlenecks at the entry or exit points. Instead of constructing and collecting toll over 30 years, the budget allocated for the road can be used to improve existing networks,” said Rishi Agarwal, a transport expert.
Sanjay Mukherjee, additional municipal commissioner (projects) refused to comment on the toll collection.