Mid-Day: Mumbai: Wednesday, February 01, 2017.
You've exacted your toll; now, put an end to the brazenness. That's the plea from a group of activists to the state government with respect to toll collection on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.
At a press conference in the city yesterday, the activists Pravin Wategaonkar, Shrinivas Ghanekar, Vivek Velankar and Sanjay Shirodhkar claimed that the toll operator, IRB Infrastructure, surpassed its 2019 target collection of Rs 2,869 crore by October-end last year. They said a toll of Rs 2,923 crore was collected till the end of December, 2016, thereby doing away with the need for future collections.
The expressway was made fully operational in 2002. In 2004, IRB won the contract for toll collection of Rs 2,869 crore till August 2019 against an upfront payment of '910 crore. "But according to figures we have received, it has already collected Rs 2,923 crore," said Shirodkar.
To press the government to act on their findings, the activists wrote a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on January 18, urging him to scrap toll collection on the expressway within 15 days.
"We have warned the state government that if it doesn't rescind the toll operator's contract, we will approach the High Court against it under the Prevention of Corruption Act," said Shirodkar.
All findings were based on responses to RTI applications and the website of the Maharashtra State Regional Development Corporation (MSRDC), which maintains the expressway. The contract between the MSRDC and IRB has no mention of what was to happen once the target toll was collected.