Devendra Fadnavis-led Maharashtra government may scrap toll for small vehicles across the city’s five entry-exit points by end of this year, weeks ahead of the 2017 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections.
While speaking to a media congregation on Monday, PWD Minister & BJP leader Chandrakant Patil said that the government had been mulling over the proposal for quite some time and is confident that it might get a green flag.
A few months back, Fadnavis had set up a panel to study and present the financial implications of exempting vehicles from toll across the city’s entry-exit points. However, PWD secretary Anand Kulkarni had retired before submitting the final report.
Patil, however, confirmed that if all vehicles are exempted from paying toll, the state government will have to pay the toll operator around Rs 2100 crore annually from its own pocket. Something that wasn’t entirely feasible at this point.
But, if only small vehicles were exempted from paying the toll, the government will have to shell out a more modest Rs 250 crore annually – a workable figure in comparison. The amount will have to be paid annually till the year 2026.
Although, considering the fact that 85 percent of vehicles entering the city are small vehicles, there might be more to the exemption than meets the eye. With the BMC elections around the corner, exempting the toll for a majority of vehicles driven by the local voting-eligible candidates can result in a favorable outcome for the BJP-led state government, which will also be contending the BMC elections.