Strangely, MSRDC once again calls for videographic traffic count survey at Mumbai’s entry points
In a strange move, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), has once again invited online tenders for videographic traffic count survey for all five entry points to Mumbai (when such a survey was done a year ago); for the Peth-Sangli-Miraj-Mhaisal state highway (the toll booth of which was closed after residents fought and won a court order) and of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link project.
The e-tender called for by the MSRDC on 2nd August from traffic survey consultants comprises ‘carrying out continuous 24-hour videographic traffic count survey of the vehicles using a video camera for seven days at ROB on Peth-Sangli-Miraj-Nhaisal state highway; carrying out a similar survey at five toll stations of Mumbai’s entry points and; a similar survey for the Bandra-Worli Sea Link project toll plaza for three days including a survey of number plates too.
RTI activist Sanjay Shirodkar has shot off a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, questioning the call for an e-tender, when the earlier survey done for the same places have not been made public nor has the report of two committees been made public. Shirodkar has brought the following to the notice of the CM:
Why should there be a toll count once again when the toll plaza of Peth-Sangli-Miraj-Mhaisal SH 138 @ 8km. 56/420, was closed after residents protested and there was a court order?
Already such a survey has been done through Videography at All Five Mumbai Entry Points in July 2015. That report has not yet been published in public domain. Why? These surveys are done with Public / Tax payers’ money but are not published for Public/Citizens. Why?
Are these activities planned to extend the concession period or to cancel the exemptions? Not clear
Why Mumbai-Pune Expressway is excluded from such initiatives where 50,000 ghost/free/exempted/VIP passes vehicles are plying through every day?
Along with the Videography survey, why has the CP Joshi and Anand Kulkarni Committee report NOT been published by the Government of Maharashtra?
I have already complained in January 2016 to VC & MD that MSRDC is under reporting while showing these vehicles under free/exempted/VIP passes categories. The percentage ranges from 25%-50%. No action till date
Under section 4 of RTI, it would be interesting to see the names of people asking for exemption on the Bandra Worli Sea Link project.
The VIP passes issue on Mumbai-Pune Expressway:
Sanjay Shirodkar had also invoked the RTI regarding VIP passes for exemption of toll on this expressway. States he, “PIO-MSRDC simply redirected my application to the contractor (MSRDC reply dated 04 December 2015 & 18 January 2016) requesting the contractor Mhaiskar Infrastructure Pvt Ltd. to provide information on VIP passes issued for exemption in toll on Mumbai-Pune Expressway. PIO-MSRDC requested twice but the contractor Mhaiskar Infrastructure Pvt Ltd did not provide the information. Contractors’ reply dated 19 December 2015 denied the information saying that being a private company they do not come under RTI.’’
Says Shirodkar, “It is the duty of the public authority to procure such information from contractor and it should be given to the applicant, but this has not been done till date.”
“By his acts, PIO-MSRDC has violated section 4(1) (b), section 6(3), section 7(8), section 11 of right to information, 2005.”
Clauses from current contract:
Original BID document of MPEW & NH4 15 year current contract says,
Page 189, point 22.214.171.124 says,
Traffic data and data relating to the operation & maintenance of the project facilities are collected.
Page 224, point 7 mentions,
About concessional rates for frequent travellers
Page 226, point 7.3.4 says,
Contractor shall collect and submit data of prepaid toll and exempted vehicles in the form prescribed by the corporation on request of corporation
Page 227, 7.3.13 says,
Contractor shall give all required information and inspection of records to the authorized officers of corporation regarding collection of toll, if asked for
Page 228, 7.3.19 says,
Contractor shall issue the monthly passes, concessional coupons, multiple entry passes at respective toll stations only
Page 228, 7.3.21 says,
Contractor shall submit the traffic details and revenue collected on each toll plaza to the MSRDC every month
In conclusion, MSRDC is a spineless body, overpowered by contractors – this is despite the fact that commuters pay through their nose for toll tax.