This news must come as a relief for all four-wheeler users. On May 29, 2015, the Maharashtra State Government headed by Devendra Fadnavis announced a toll waiver for state transport buses and cars (both personal and tourist) at 65 booths across the state. Out of these, 12 toll booths have been entirely shut down. The dictum comes into effect from June 1, 2015. Toll booths near major getaway destinations in and around Mumbai will be affected by this exemption.
CM Devendra Fadnavis said that the Government was fulfilling its promise of making Maharastra a toll-free state. Continued toll collection on roads long after the expiry of their existing contracts had irked the citizens as well as fellow road users who had to put up with the serpentine queues. New toll booths would also crop up frequently on freshly surfaced roads.
Fadnavis said that if the toll operators do indeed go to the court for a stay order, the Government is ready to fight it. He also added that a committee headed by PWD minister Chandrakant Patil will very soon take a decision on the Kolhapur Toll Plaza. Last year in January, Shiv Sena activists had staged an agitation on nine roads in and around Kolhapur which then took a violent turn, leading to four booths being burnt.
The GoM has also set up a committee which will check if a toll waiver can be given to LMVs and state buses at all of Mumbai’s entry point tolls including Vashi, Airoli, Mulund, Bhandup, Dahisar and Mumbai-Pune Expressway along with the Bandra-Worli Sea Link. The details of the analysis by the committee will be out by end of July 2015.
Those who use personal vehicles or car-pool in Mumbai end up covering close to 40-45km in a day. Our own Lijo has to put up with two tolls on his way to work, including the one at Katai (which is now in the list of booths where the exemption applies) and at Airoli. Halley, on the other hand, has to pay toll at Vashi (which is being considered for a waiver), but not at Kamothe. Readers driving cars are requested to carry a copy of this article if they are being stopped by the authorities at the above mentioned toll plazas.
In other news, the Goa Government has decided to levy taxes on private vehicles bearing registration numbers from beyond the border districts. These vehicles were previously exempt from the toll. While LMVs will be charged Rs 250, trucks and HMVs will have to pay a hefty toll of Rs 1,000.