Maharashtra government will have to pay Rs8,798.8 crore till FY2040 as compensation to road builders for closing toll booths in the state, reveals reply received by Anil Galgali, under the RTI Act
To keep its promise made during the elections, the Maharashtra government will have to pay a whopping Rs8,798.79 crore till FY2039-40 to road builders as compensation for making 53 booths toll free, reveals a reply received under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
According to the reply received by RTI activist Anil Galgali, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) and the Public Works Department (PWD) will pay Rs353 every year till FY2039-40 as compensation to road builders.
In his RTI application, Galgali has sought information from PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil about number of toll booths closed and also about the toll booths on which exemptions have been provided.
In the reply, Shailedra Borse, the public information officer (PIO) told Galgali that PWD has 19 projects with total 27 tollbooths where cars, jeep, state transport busses and school buses are exempted from paying toll. Due to this exemption, the PWD is paying Rs179.69 crore to the road contractor for FY2015-16. It will continue to pay the amount for next 25 years or till FY2039-40, taking the total amount to be paid as compensation to Rs7,377.44 crore.
Similarly, on the 12 projects under MSRDC, 26 toll nakas are functional on which cars, jeep, state transport buses and school buses have been given exemptions. This will cost the exchequer Rs284.27 crore for the FY2015-16 and has to be paid for next five years that is up to 2019-20 totalling Rs1,421.35 crore, the reply reveals.
Galgali said, "Instead of taking strong action on people who are looting the public and government in the name of toll tax, the government is being very lenient towards them. Instead all the companies involved in the business of toll collection should have been audited by the government. The willingness shown in paying compensation for toll exemptions seems to be a case where the treatment seems to be costlier and dangerous than the illness itself."
"What is more shocking is as per the RTI reply, out of 38 toll booths, only 11 were closed ensuing a payment of Rs226.51 crore as compensation by PWD. In case of MSRDC, only one out of 53 tollbooths is closed for which Rs168 crore are being paid as compensation. So the total amount being paid is Rs394.51 crore for closing 12 toll booths," Galgali added.