NAVI MUMBAI: The toll exemption for LMVs since the past six days has given respite to motorists crossing the Kamothe and Kharghar toll plazas. Private car owners have benefitted on two fronts — saving money used for paying toll and other being relief from snarls caused due to serpentine queues for toll collection.
Vashi resident Amit Patra (32), a computer engineer, said, “Exempting toll for LMVs at Kamothe and Kharghar plazas is a welcome move. Otherwise, we had to pay double toll — once at Vashi plaza to go towards Mumbai and then at Kamothe to go towards Panvel .”
Another Vashi resident, Vineet Mishra, added that now the government needs to shut down Vashi and Airoli toll plazas too.
“The authorities can at least exempt LMVs at these two toll nakas, as the operator has already recovered their money,” he said.
But Sion-Panvel Tollways Pvt Ltd (SPTPL), operator of Kharghar-Kamothe toll plazas, claimed that the toll waiver has adversely affected its revenue generation.
SPTPL’s assistant vice president, Tajuddin Shaikh, said that before June 1, the revenue generated from toll charges was an average of Rs 28-29 lakh per day at Kharghar-Kamothe toll plazas. “But after the exemption to LMVs, which constitute about 80% of the vehicular traffic, the revenue has drastically reduced to around Rs 14-15 lakh per day,” he said.
He added that the concessionaires, who have pumped in huge investment for the toll operation contract, are not getting their dues back from the PWD and the state government.
“As Supreme court declined to interfere in the matter after our appeal for a stay on the toll waiver, we will now approach the high court after June 8,” Shaikh added.
He also said that out of nine lanes at each plaza, three are dedicated as free lanes, allowing LMVs to cross without paying toll.