Toll hike: No respite in sight

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Bang Toll protest _May 6_2014-012

Bangalore: The Union and State governments are unlikely to interfere with the steep hike in toll rates effected on the expressway to the Kempegowda International Airport.

The State government has clearly ruled out its intervention in the issue and this stand will form the basis for the report to be submitted to the Union Minister for Transport, Roads and Highways on May 12.

However, it is being proposed that the government will provide a service road up to the toll plaza by persuading the Indian Air Force and the Railways to part with the land required for the purpose. A part of the land needed for the construction of service road is owned by the Air Force and Railways.

Top government officials say that the demand for roll back cannot be entertained under the present policy and a relook could be possible under the new toll policy being drafted by the National Highways Authority of India. Under the proposed policy, the toll rates will be calculated based on the average of costs incurred on construction of expressways across the country.

Moreover, it is being said that the hike, if rolled back, would dampen the already waning private investment in the State. The officials concerned claim that the demand for rollback is primarily from transport associations and not from passengers.

Quoting independent surveys, officials say that on an average every passenger to the airport spends Rs 450 for travel and an additional Rs 75 to Rs 115 may not be a burden.

AIMTC adamant

However, the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) has said that it will not relent unless the hike is rolled back.

“We have called for an emergency session of the AIMTC at Salem on Sunday. The toll hike on NH-7 is also on the agenda. While we are not opposed to the toll, the quantum of hike is unprecedented,” AIMTC president G R Shanmugappa said.

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