State government plans to collect toll on Mumbai-Pune Expressway till 2030

The state government presented an affidavit at a hearing in Bombay High Court regarding a petition to stop the collection of toll on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway as the pre-decided toll amount had been collected.

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Mumbai-Pune Expressway is a route that connects two of the state’s biggest cities. After the government constructed the expressway, they collected toll from the public to reimburse the money spent on the route. However, despite the pre-decided amount for the toll on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway has been collected, the state government hasn’t stopped the collection of toll at the plazas on the route.

Accordingly, toll researchers had filed a petition against the state government, Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) and the contractor. Pravin Wategaonkar, one of the petitioners said that during the recent hearing of the case, the state government presented an affidavit stating that they won’t stop collecting toll for the next 12 years, i.e. 2030.

Earlier, toll researchers had taken an aggressive stand against MSRDC, the state government and the contractors for continuing to collect the toll even after the amount was recovered. Toll researchers Srinivas Ghanekar, Pravin Wategaonkar, Sanjay Shirodkar, and Vivek Velankar complained directly to the Anti-Corruption Prevention Division saying that the activity by MSRDC and the contractor is illegal. After which, they also approached the High Court.

The court had asked the state government and MSRDC officials to provide a report in regard to whether they will collect the toll or not.

As per the contract, it was decided that the toll will be compulsorily collected till 2019. However, the state government seems to have other thoughts about it and have extended the date of collection till 2030 as per the affidavit, which has enraged the people as well as the petitioners.

According to the contract between Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) and the contractor,₹2869 crore had to be recovered till March 2019. The toll recovery of ₹2869 crore has been completed in November 2016 and therefore, toll recovery on Mumbai-Pune Expressway route should have ideally stopped in November 2016. But, MSRDC and the contractor that had taken the contract continued levying the toll.

Thus, the contractor is expected to make a profit of up to ₹250 to ₹300 crore by 2019.

As per the contract, MSRDC is legally allowed to collect the toll till 2030. Thus, MSRDC will continue to collect toll after the contract with ‘IRB’ is completed as a part of the concession period till August 30, 2030. Accordingly, another contractor will be hired.

The next hearing for the petition has been scheduled on September 27 which will clarify the petitioner’s stand, in regard to the government’s decision.

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