This comes as a relief to Mumbaikars. The minister for Public Works, Eknath Shinde has announced that toll fee collection has been suspended temporarily. The suspension starts from today and will continue till September 23, 2018. Only private vehicles are exempt from paying toll at these plazas. The toll fee collection for commercial as well as heavy vehicles will continue as usual.
The minister took this decision after it was found that there was heavy traffic at these tolls during peak hours. The traffic, he says, is because of the diversion created due to the Mumbra bypass work. The work on the Mumbra bypass road started in May this year and is expected to be completed in September. Due to this ongoing work, heavy vehicles going towards Gujarat or Nashik are inconvenienced and have to use either Airoli, Taloja or Mulund roads. What the minister didn’t specify is that the roads at Taloja (non-manned road), Airoli and Mulund are in shambles as well. This leads to vehicles trying to avoid potholes, sudden braking and hence the traffic congestion.
Shinde also said that the government is looking to elevate the toll plazas as well as add new lanes. The toll plazas at Airoli and Mulund collectively collected around Rs 10 crore in the last month. The PWD minister said that he intends to take a decision later whether these toll naka operators will be reimbursed their toll fee collection amount for this period.
Local residents echo our sentiments. Chetan Thakkar, a resident of Mulund says that the jam is primarily due to the bad road conditions. He elaborated that bad road conditions and lane indiscipline have to be kept in check to reduce the traffic. One is forced to slow down for a bad road or if someone cuts into their lane without indicating.
We believe that the toll fee collection suspension might have a positive effect. Wonder when is the government going to fulfill their promise of stopping toll collection altogether in Maharashtra. Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below!