If a report on ET has to be believed, private car owners in Maharashtra could be in for some delightful news. The Maharashtra government is mulling about charging only heavy vehicles for toll and exempting private passenger vehicles like cars and SUVs. Talking to reporters in the city of Kolhapur, state PWD minister, Chandrakant Patil said, “We are committed to bringing down the problems of common man but complete cancellation of tolls is not possible. Hence, we are seriously working out a plan where toll can be collected only from heavy commercial vehicles that are generally transporting industrial goods, bulk material and industrial products. For them, paying additional Rs 50 or Rs 70 would not make any difference. These operators can afford it.“
Patil further said that the PWD had sanctioned toll collection projects with a total cost of Rs 8,500 crore, while the MSRDC had sanctioned toll collection projects of Rs 10,000 crore. In a situation like this, the state government cannot even buy out the projects because of the huge amount.
He cited an example of the newly operational Panvel toll booth, which was criticized by locals earlier, but the state government’s decision to exempt vehicles from 32 villages near the toll booth in Panvel tehsil helped resolve the agitation. On the other hand, Vehicles heading towards Mumbai and returning from the city will have to continue paying the toll. One decision that could provide some relief, is that if they at least exempt vehicles registered within the city from paying a toll.