Govt plans to levy toll on users of State highways

Pay for using roads laid, improved under PPP model

Govt plans to levy toll on users of State highways

The State Cabinet on Saturday decided to amend the law to enable collection of toll on State highways that are developed or improved under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model, making it clear that people have to dig deep into their pockets if they want quality roads.

An amendment, Karnataka Road User Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection), 2014, will be made to the existing Karnataka State Highways Act, 1964, to give the provision of collecting user fee or toll from commuters using State highways.

Law Minister T B Jayachandra said toll collection on State highways will start in the near future. “We will have to toll the state highways in the future. The order of the day is Public Private Partnership. If we want good roads, then toll will have to be paid,” he added.

Jayachandra said issues like the number of roads to be tolled and the base rate of the toll are yet to be decided. He added that the provision of collecting user fee from commuters is aimed at generating revenue.

Private participation

For the first time in recent years, the government has opened up the State highways to private players. The 73-km stretch from Yelahanka to the Andhra Pradesh border via Doddaballapur and Gouribidanur will witness a comprehensive development under the PPP model. The project was cleared by the Cabinet on Saturday.

The government has listed six other State highways for development under the PPP. However, as of now, no one has come forward to invest in them. The Yelahanka-AP border highway will be a joint venture development by RML and KMC, companies based in Coimbatore and Andhra Pradesh, respectively.

The total project cost is Rs 320 crore. The State and Centre would be providing Rs 76 crore each and the remaining amount, Rs 168 crore, would be invested by the Joint Venture Company (JVC).

The concession period for the JVC is for 20 years during which the company has to recover its investment through toll. The road would be of international standard and it would take at least two years to complete the project. While 25 km from Yelahanka would be four lane, the rest would be two lane.

The significance of the project would be that the State would not be dependent on external finances, thanks to the private player.

Toll is already being collected on the Waghdari-Rippanapalli inter-State highway touching Bidar and Kalaburagi and Alnavar to Dharwad.

Tenders have been invited to make the newly developed concrete road between Hosapete and Sandur a toll road, according to sources in Karnataka Road Development Corporation.

Official sources said the following six roads would be developed under PPP model: Two roads around Bengaluru — Nelamangala-Doddaballapur-Chikkaballapur (60 km) and Devanahalli to Kolar via Vijayapura and Vemgal (52 km); Kolar to Tamil Nadu border via KGF and Chintamani (90 km); Shivamogga to Harihara via Honnali (80 km); Jadesuguru to Chikkasugur (48 km); Gottur-Basavanabagevadi to Kagawadi via Hukkeri (54 km).

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