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Maharashtra Government may scrap the toll for small vehicles at the five entry points of Mumbai by December this year, ahead of the 2017 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections.
Speaking to reporters here, PWD Minister and BJP leader Chandrakant Patil on Monday said that Government was positive about the proposal.
However, a source in PWD said that the decision was likely ahead of the crucial civic elections in the city.
When pointed out that the former PWD secretary Anand Kulkarni had retired without submitting his report on toll-waiver, Patil said that was not the hurdle, and the Finance Department was examining how much reimbursement the Government will to have to pay to MEP, the toll contractor, if toll is scrapped.
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Unlike elsewhere, 85 per cent vehicles entering Mumbai are small vehicles, he said, adding the Government will have to pay Rs 250 crore to the company annually till 2026 if it was to waive the toll for small vehicles.
If the toll was waived completely, it will have to pay Rs 2,100 crore. The Government can not pay such a huge amount at one go, he said.
The state Government was able to convince the Centre to upgrade 12,000 km of state highways to national highways. Besides, the Centre had extended the length of national highways in the state from 7,000 km to 20,000 km, Patil said.
The Centre had allocated Rs 97,000 crore for strengthening, four-laning, concretisation and land acquisition, of which works worth Rs 67,000 crore are to be taken up in the first phase, he said.
On the need for Rail Over-Bridges, he said the state had submitted a list of 173 locations, and 150 ROBs will be constructed by the Centre in the next two years.