Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Thursday met officers of Public Works (Building and Roads) Department and National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) in Chandigarh to discuss relaxing toll taxes and national highways in the state.
In what is likely to be seen as a move to woo voters for the upcoming assembly elections, Hooda proposed reducing toll taxes on highways and further relaxation of rates to residents living near toll plazas.
The Haryana CM said that the state was ready to compensate NHAI for its loss in toll revenue. For this, he asked NHAI to submit a detailed report of the loss to the state government by next week. A back-of-the-envelope calculation shows the total revenue loss burden of about Rs 20 crore annually for the Haryana government.
Hooda directed its officers to frame a policy aimed at lowering the high toll tax. Till the policy is finalized, he directed them to discontinue the increased toll on state highways.
NHAI has in principle agreed to the proposal. Satish Chandra, member NHAI (finance) said on Thursday that the authority had no objection if Haryana provided relief in toll rates.
The proposal is likely to benefit commuters using toll plazas on all state and national highways in Haryana, and also the Kherki Daula toll plaza on NH-8 and toll plazas on Gurgaon-Faridabad Road.
Toll rates on Kherki Daula toll plaza was hiked from Rs 27 to Rs 56 in February as a compensatory measure after the removal of the Sirhaul toll plaza on NH-8. As per the new notification by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the rates have been further hiked to Rs 60 per trip.
Later, at an interaction with the media, Hooda said people living in nearby areas of toll plazas had apprised him that of the high toll tax. Five days earlier, the Toll Sangarsh Samiti from Rothak had threatened to block the national and state highways in Haryana demanding an immediate lowering of toll plazas in the state.