Saturday, November 26, 2011

Highway Ministry to cut toll fees

The highways ministry is likely to decrease toll charges on sections that will be widened from four to six lanes, or from two to four lanes. Sources said the ministry is bearing in mind three options to give toll relief to commuters since during expansion the service worsens, making it unsafe to use these stretches. 

A senior ministry official said a proposal was suggested to find a solution as several protests were received about poor condition of roads under maintenance and expansion. The ministry has drawn the National Highways Authority of India's (NHAI) attention to the problems. The first proposal is to reduce the consumer fee by 60% of the total toll charge for projects that will be widened from four to six lanes. 

"If we reduce the toll charge by 40%, it will be a key relief for commuters who face jamming and loss of precious time. In case of extension, the old toll rate should continue until the work is finished," said an official. They are also proposing that the NHAI could go for indexing of the toll during the construction phase.
Representatives clarified that all the proposals are awaiting approval. Once the permission comes through, new settings will be applicable to projects with reconsidering effect since the present ones are awarded as per prevailing norms. 

Last year the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on highways had turned down this proposal to stop collecting toll or reducing it by 50% during the construction phase, which takes at least three years. EGoM had perceived that such a move would make plans unworkable for private developers.

Article Courtesy: Times of India

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