The Bombay High Court Wednesday directed that notices be issued to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the state government and the contractor of the Pune-Mumbai Expressway in a matter seeking to revoke the right of the contractor to collect toll along the road.
According to the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by four petitioners, including activist Pravin Wategaonkar, the contracted total toll income of Rs 2,869 crore has been achieved and the contractor has made a wrongful gain of around Rs 325 crore as of March this year.
“The chief minister announced the decision to completely close 12 toll plazas across the State on April 10, 2015. He further announced the decision to exempt light motor vehicles from payment of toll on 53 toll plazas across Maharashtra from June 1 2015. A separate committee under then additional chief secretary Anand Kulkarni was formed to look into the issue of exemption of light motor vehicles on Mumbai-Pune Expressway and five entry points to Mumbai. The committee would submit a report by July 31, 2015,” read the petition.
However, after three extensions and re-constitution of the committee, it submitted a report in April 2016 and the same is under consideration of the government since the past 12 months, the petition claims.
“One of the petitioners received a letter from Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation stating that the cumulative toll collection on Mumbai-Pune Expressway since beginning of the contract in August 2004-05 is about Rs. 3,215 crore. The contractor was entitled to Rs. 2,869 crore in respect of Mumbai-Pune Expressway and has achieved a wrongful gain of Rs. 346 crore,” the petition said.
The petition seeks directions to the government to revoke the contractor’s right to collect toll on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway till August 2019.
It also seeks orders from court, after examining the legality of the matter, to declare the procedure followed in
abolishing toll and granting exemption to light motor vehicles from payment of toll violative of the provisions of the Constitution.
The case is likely to be heard on April 25.