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Kamothe toll plaza: Panel mulls waiver for car owners in five-km radius

After stiff opposition to new toll both on Sion-Panvel highway, govt does a rethink

Written by MANASI PHADKE | Mumbai |
January 20, 2015 1:25:36 am
The new toll boot opened earlier this month. The new toll boot opened earlier this month.

After strong opposition to the newly opened toll booth at Kharghar on the Sion-Panvel Highway by local residents and politicians, the state government has constituted a committee to consider waiving off toll for car-owners living in a 5-km radius, and its implications on other toll booths in the state.

Residents of five areas — Kalamboli, Panvel, Kamothe, Kopra and Kharghar — and state transport buses are already exempt from paying this toll, following the recommendations of a previous chief secretary-led committee. However, there were several agitations after the toll booth started collections on January 6, with residents and public representatives making repeated requests for the entire Panvel taluka to be exempt from this toll.

The committee, constituted on January 17 to consider this demand, will have to submit its report in a month.

State’s Public Works Department minister Chandrakant Patil said, “This toll booth is an exception because there are two toll collection points within a very short distance — one at Vashi and now at Kamothe. There were no protests or complaints from residents when the Vashi toll booth alone was functioning. These started only when this additional booth was started on the stretch.”

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Patil said that for residents in a five-km radius of all other toll booths in the state, there is already a scheme of availing a monthly pass to travel any number of times at a rate of 10 times the daily toll.

The five-member committee for the Kamothe toll booth is mandated to look into the issues of all residents living in a five-km radius, including the entire Panvel taluka and city limits, and suggest ways of addressing the grievances adequately.

Besides, the committee will also study the impact this can have on other toll booths in the state and suggest solutions accordingly.

However, the committee, which has three government representatives, one member from the private toll operator, and an expert, has no representative from the public.

“The committee will take hearings with the local residents and public representatives during the course of the study. It will study the number of light commercial vehicles of residents within a five-km radius that cross the toll booth on a daily basis. It will also weigh the impact on the tolling company if any rebate is granted, and whether the concession period might have to be adjusted accordingly,”said a state government official who did not wish to be named.

Sion Panvel Tollways Pvt Ltd, a consortium of IVRCL Assets and Holdings and Kakade Infrastructure, had implemented the Sion-Panvel highway project, which involved major improvements to the 23-km Sion-Panvel highway, on a build-operate-transfer basis at a cost of Rs 1,220 crore. The company has a concession period of 17 years and five months including the three years of construction.

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