THE MUMBAI Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has decided to collect toll for the 22-km-long Mumbai Trans-Harbor Link (MTHL) corridor, aimed at connecting Navi Mumbai. The Rs 22,000-crore corridor, 15 per cent of the work for which has been completed, is set to be operational by 2023.
Sources in the MMRDA said that the move, which rules out appointing an agency for toll collection, is aimed at recovering the cost of the project — jointly financed by the state government and Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA). While JICA is funding 85 per cent of the project, the state government is footing the rest.
MMRDA Commissioner R A Rajeev told The Indian Express, “We are planning to collect toll for MTHL corridor once it is open for the public but the proposal is in a very initial stage.”
A senior MMRDA official said the corridor, work for which had begun in March 2018, was on track and is likely to be completed before the 2023 deadline. “The agency will be collecting toll until 2045,” the official added.
“To make this project viable, we need to collect toll. Only bridge maintenance work will be handed over to private firms. The decision is based on our past experiences. It is been observed that when a private firm is involved, residents complain about increase in toll,” the official said.
“In such cases, they (private operators) refuse to reveal their account details and profit-sharing issues crop up if they insist on increasing the toll. Therefore, to avoid all this, the MMRDA will collect the toll. The toll collection will help in recovering the project expenses,” the official added.
The MMRDA had, in 2018, in its detailed project report submitted to the state government, quoted proposed toll charges between Rs 175 to Rs 790. As per the proposal, while light motor vehicles may be charged Rs 175, light commercial vehicles are likely to pay Rs 265, trucks and buses Rs 525 and multi-axle buses Rs 790. Toll will be collected both electronically and through cash payments.
A MMRDA official said that once the corridor is opened, CCTV cameras will be installed at a distance of 1 km each at three places on the main route for security and monitoring traffic.