Is the system of collecting tolls on our Indian Highways justified?
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The Highway Toll Plazas are charging a very high Toll/user fee, and with increasing fuel prices, which adds to the common man's burden, the fees charged certainly doesn't seem to be justified.
The root of the problem, seems that, the authorities have begun to treat tolling as a means of revenue collection. “Internationally, the fundamental premise of a toll is to recover the cost of construction.” Now, when the state allows a private agency to collect a toll for a fixed number of years, the toll rate is based, among other things, on the estimated density of traffic and it allows for a certain margin of profit for the agency. But if the number of vehicles using the tolled road shoots up faster than expected -- as has been the case in most states -- the toll rates should be brought down.
“A toll basically has to work like an EMI [how you pay back a home loan]". If an agency collects money over and above the recovery of its costs, and after making its determined margin of profit, then it is in violation of its contract. At the moment, this is happening all over the country, which is not acceptable!
A good road should provide us with basic amenities such as toilets, ambulance services and, in the case of heavy vehicles, enough space for emergency parking on the side. But these are a rare sight. I should also have the option of using a service road. However, the toll or user fee should be as less as Rs.10/- or nothing at all! The toll that we end up paying can range from Rs.45 to 75/- for private cars, commercial vehicles and buses end up paying an even huge amount! We are already paying a sufficiently high Road tax while purchasing our vehicles, and over and above that taxes that we pay for various goods and services, not to forget a huge Income Tax as well! The Government is duty bound to provide good roads in any which ways. The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, GOI, needs to immediately address this and help unburden the Road users. Please join me in making this as a collective petition to the NHAI.
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