It’s a toll-free ride for those with MNS stickers,flags

After last month’s agitation by Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena at several toll booths in the state,toll collection has resumed as usual for all but a few.

Written by MANASI PHADKE | Published:August 9, 2012 3:53 am

After last month’s agitation by Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena at several toll booths in the state,toll collection has resumed as usual for all but a few. Those sporting an MNS sticker or a party flag on their cars or carrying MNS identity cards are allowed to zoom past the entry points of Mumbai without paying even a single paisa as toll.

“We have stopped paying toll anywhere in the city. The toll booth operators also just let cars go when they see MNS volunteers,” a party worker based in south Mumbai said. “We are not against the concept of collecting toll,but operators fudge numbers and toll collection contracts are often based on inaccurate numbers. We won’t pay toll till the state government acts on bringing in transparency.”

He said party workers and volunteers were being allowed to pass without paying toll because they refuse to pay and the common man should also do the same. There are five entry points to Mumbai — Airoli,Vashi,Mulund,LBS Marg and Dahisar — for which the state government had awarded a contract to Mumbai Entry Point (MEP) Ltd,owned by the Mhaiskar group of IRB Infrastructure,to collect toll charges for a 17-year concession period. The MNS had,last month,targeted toll nakas across the state,stopped collection at various booths and urged people not to pay toll till transparency was ensured in collections.

A Thane-based MNS worker said it was not just party workers who are not paying toll. “I have seen and heard of cases where even those not belonging to the party procuring our flags and stickers to pass off as party volunteers and avoid paying toll.”

MEP Infrastructure managing director J D Mhaiskar said he had not heard of any incident of toll booth operators letting MNS workers and volunteers drive away without collecting toll. “To the best of my knowledge,this is not happening on a regular basis. Toll is something decided as per a government notification. If we come across such incidents,we will act as per the provisions of law.”

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