ACTIVISTS have threatened to lodge a criminal complaint with the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) if the state government fails to stop toll collection on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. They claim as the contract fee has been recollected since toll was imposed, it is “criminal” to charge the same from commuters anymore. At a press conference Monday, the activists alleged the 15-year contract to Ideal Road Builders Pvt Ltd of constructing and maintaining the Expressway calls for collection of an expected toll revenue of Rs 2,869 crore to the company till 2019. According to figures made available by the contractor, more than this sum was collected by the end of last year.
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“A 15-year contract starting from 2004 calls for a sum that needs to be given to the contractor as his running cost and profit income till 2019. However, almost Rs 2,923 crore has been collected by them till the end of 2016. If the agreement is already fulfilled, it is criminal to extract more money from commuters,” said Praveen Wategaonkar, activist. “These are completely technical and financial-legal matters which must be studied in detail before making these claims. MSRDC has involved multiple stakeholders to raise money, develop and maintain not only the Expressway but also revamp the old national highway for public use and a complete repayment of their money must be done,” said Kiran Kurundkar, Joint Managing Director, MSRDC.
“The government has refereed the matter to the Advocate-General asking for an opinion on whether the cash flow to the contractual company must be terminated,” said Radheshyam Mopalwar, MD, MSRDC.