Toll gates open free for parliamentarians, legislators

The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday gave its nod to the modification of new national highway toll policy proposed by the Ministry of Road Transport and National Highways, which   had exempted MPs and MLAs from paying toll charges in toll plazas on both government and private funded roads.

Central and state government vehicles, gallantry award winners, posts and telegraph and funeral vehicles are the other categories exempted from paying tolls. 

New policy

The new toll policy announced early last year did not include MPs and MLAs from the exemption list, prompting nethas to take up cudgels against government in Parliament.
The Centre eventually decided to include members of legislatures giving in to pressure from across the political spectrum,  a senior official from the Road Transport and National Highways told Deccan Herald.  However, these exemptions may not go down well with toll managing companies as they would suffer losses of nearly 10 per cent of their revenue, the official added.

The EGOM also approved proposals to exempt two-lane highways (mostly bypasses) built with an investment of up to Rs 2.5 crore per km from payment of tolls, as a means of encouraging vehicles to use the bypasses, which they were avoiding due to tolls.
Monthly passes to commercial vehicles using two-lane toll highways, which would largely benefit small businesses, were also approved.

The meeting also decided not to allow slow-moving vehicles on the highway in places where service ways and other alternatives exist, the official said. The EGOM also decided to maintain in future a distance of 60 km between two fee plazas and to fix 10 km outside the municipal limits as the distance for the toll gates.

The distance between two fee plazas will be 60 km and toll plaza should be located beyond 10 km from municipal or local town area limits.

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