Quietly, toll collection begins on Whagdhari-Ribbanpally highway

First State highway to become toll road; developed at a cost of Rs 242 crore

While the Karnataka government appears to be dragging its feet on levying toll on road users, the Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) has silently converted the Whadhari-Ribbanpally State highway (SH-10) in north Karnataka into a toll road recently.

It is the first stretch of State highway to become a toll road in the State. The 136-km stretch runs from Whagdhari on the Maharashtra-Karnataka boundary to Ribbanpally on Andhra Pradesh-Karnataka border. It passes through Gulbarga district, including Gulbarga city.

Developed under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) at a cost of Rs 242 crore, toll collection on the road began on September 7, 2012, without much publicity.
The toll ranges from a minimum of Rs 45 for cars and jeeps to a maximum of Rs 200 for heavy-duty vehicles.

Two-wheelers, tractors and government vehicles, belonging to both the State and the Centre, are exempt from paying toll.  he entire stretch of 136 kms has been divided into two sections with two toll booths. Section one is between Maharashtra boundary and Gulbarga city, and section two is between Gulbarga city and Andhra Pradesh boundary.

Though the State cabinet approved toll collection on 2,385 km of state highways developed under the World Bank-funded Karnataka State Highway Improvement Project (KSHIP-1) some two years ago, the government has been reluctant to start toll collection, fearing public ire. Actually, the World Bank had funded KSHIP-1 on the condition that the government would begin to collect toll from road users on the upgraded stretches.

The Whagdhari-Ribbanpally project was undertaken up by GVR Infra Projects Ltd on a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis through a special purpose vehicle  – GVRMP Whadhari Ribbanpally Tollway Private Ltd, which is a consortium of GVR, RMN and Prathusha. The promoter has 30-years concession period from the KRDCL.

Under the project, the existing two-lane road was re-constructed, besides undertaking
other developmental works.

“The promoter will not only have to maintain the entire stretch of road in a good condition for the next 28 years but also have to provide first-aid facilities to vistims of road accidents,” KRDCL Managing Director R Srinivas said.

Surprisingly, the project was completed three monthsahead of the schedule.

Agreement

According to the agreement, the promoter had a period of two years for the construction period and 28 years to collect toll. The work commenced in December 2010 and was scheduled to be completed by December 2012.

However, the project was finished in September itself. As a result, the promoter managed to obtain three additional months for toll collection, official sources said.

Toll rates

* Cars and jeeps: Rs 45
* Light motor vehicles: Rs 65
* Bus and trucks: Rs 135
* Heavy vehicles:  Rs 200

(Note: Toll rate mentioned is for the entire stretch, comprising both the sections. Toll will be a bit lesser if once is crossing only one section.)

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