Monday, July 15, 2024

Congress slams Maha govt for taking toll decisions outside cabinet, at someone home

In a significant move for transparency, the Maharashtra government will implement a digital display board of road toll collections at major toll-posts and install CCTVs to eye delays and disruptions owing to the toll tax collection process, here on Friday, even as the Opposition Congress attacked the measures.

The decision, among several others, were announced by PWD Minister Dadaji D. Bhuse and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) President Raj Thackeray this morning.

Raj Thackeray, who has revived the 9-year-old anti-road toll tax agitation, called on Chief Minister Eknath Shinde at his official residence on Oct. 12 and submitted a memorandum on his demands on the issue while Minister Bhuse visited the MNS leader’s home today to discuss and hammer out a solution.

Congress Chief Spokesperson Atul Londhe slammed the state government on this and said that such crucial decisions should be announced in the cabinet and not in somebody’s home, terming them as ‘illegal’, ‘extra-constitutional’, and reeks of a ‘parallel government’ run from outside.

“Within two weeks, CCTVs shall be installed by the government and the MNS at all the toll booths at the five Mumbai Entry Points (MEPs) and a control room will be set up in Mantralaya to monitor them,” said Raj Thackeray.

The digital display will indicate how much toll the contractor has collected as per the tender and how much is left balance to enable the people know the correct financials of the concerned tool-booth, he said.

Londhe sharply questioned why “a political party be allowed to install CCTVs at toll-booths and interfere in the government’s work”, alleging it is proof that there is corruption in the toll collection process.

The government will also ensure that no vehicle is required to halt for more than 4 minutes at the toll-posts and those outside the ‘yellow line’ (indicating a traffic jam) will be allowed to pass without paying the road toll tax, the MNS will construct public conveniences near some of the toll booths, and keep a watch over the goings-on.

The MNS has also demanded a closure of 29 old toll-booths belonging to the PWD Department and 15 of Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) to which Bhuse said the government will consider and take a decision on it shortly.

The other demands included a probe by the Comptroller & Auditor General on the Bandra Worli Sea Link and the Mumbai Pune Expressway, special passes for those living in the vicinity of the toll-booths, no toll if the road conditions are bad, etc.

The MNS had carried out major protests at various toll-booths in Mumbai, Thane, Raigad, Nashik and other places after Raj Thackeray warned of ‘burning the toll-posts’ if small/light vehicles were forced to pay the road toll tax, rattling the government though the masses responded favourably.

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