Ministries clash over toll plazas
Thanks to stiff opposition from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the roads, transport and highways ministry has once again been frustrated in its efforts to free the toll plaza management from the control of the ex-servicemen, reports Srinand Jha.delhi Updated: Jan 16, 2010 23:44 IST
The transport and defence ministries are at loggerheads on how to manage toll plazas on National Highways.
Thanks to stiff opposition from the ministry of defence (MoD), the roads, transport and highways ministry has once again been frustrated in its efforts to free the toll plaza management from the control of the ex-servicemen.
Since 2002, the operations of all 137 toll plazas across the country are being controlled by ex-servicemen “despite a history of poor management”, says a transport ministry document.
“Toll collection by ex-servicemen groups at eight plazas has remained below 65 per cent of the target set. This gives rise to suspicion about pilferage of funds,” a transport ministry official said on conditions of anonymity. “Ex-servicemen are untrained for such jobs and some are of doubtful integrity.”
“The MoD has received no intimation to this effect in writing,” said an insider on conditions of anonymity. “The management of toll plazas should continue to remain in the hands of ex-servicemen, in accordance with the government’s policy.”
November last, the transport ministry floated bids inviting open tenders for the management of toll plazas. “Because of huge opposition from the MoD, we have had to hold back the decision,” a transport ministry official said.
The last occasion when the transport ministry had attempted — and failed — to rope in private players in the management of toll plazas was in 2002.
The Director General of Resettlement, General Sujan Gopal Chatterjee — responsible for forwarding names of ex-servicemen for employment at toll plazas — refused to comment on the issue.
“At the moment, the show is being managed by the transport ministry. In an ideal situation, a Memorandum of Understanding should be signed between the two ministries — stipulating norms over the management of toll plazas by ex-servicemen,” said an MoD official.