As if the problems related to former prime minister H D Deve Gowda’s protests and his invective-laced remarks weren’t enough, a notification on the toll rates pasted on the NICE road tollgates triggered another round of speculations.
On Tuesday, NICE officials were quick to explain that the toll rates hadn’t been hiked and the notice was only a technicality mandated under its agreement with the Government. But the rates on the notification indicated a hike of at least 25 per cent more than the current toll.
For instance, for a car running on the NICE road stretch from Mysore Road to Tumkur Road, the toll is Rs 33. The new chart says that the car driver may have to spend Rs 45. Similarly, for travelling from Mysore Road to Magadi Road, people had to pay a toll of Rs 19 for a car. The new chart rate shows Rs 25.
This new chart led to confusion among its regular users, which was cleared by a spokesperson of NICE who said the firm had not increased the toll. He said the firm had only adhered to the Toll Concession Agreement with the State government. The company, he said, had pasted the Gazette notification of the revised rate, as required to be done every year in the first week of January.
“The chart you have seen at our toll gates does not indicate the rates we are going to charge but it is just a procedural requirement as per the law to display the possible renewed rates to be collected by the company. Treat this rate as an upper cap of the money we are supposed to charge,” the NICE spokesperson Manjunath Nayaker clarified.
He went on to say that the firm has no plans rightaway to increase the toll charges and whatever hike would be effected would be informed to the people. “We will not introduce any hike without informing people and media. Already we are offering concession to the users,” said the spokesman.
Sources in the PWD said, as per the agreement the company can revise the toll with the concurrence of the Government. “As per the agreement, the Government has to allow the company to hike the toll periodically. Violation of this would attract contempt of the Court. About four days ago, the PWD issued a notification increasing the toll. If we do not allow the revision, then we (the Government) will attract contempt of Court,” an officer said.