Thoppumpady BoT bridge to go toll-free
By Princy Alexander | ENS | Published: 19th June 2013 12:05 PM |
Amid controversies surrounding toll collection at the BoT bridge at Thoppumpady, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has assured Dominic Presentation MLA that the bridge will be made toll-free after eight months.
The MLA said the Chief Minister gave his assurance at a high-level sub-committee meeting held in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday.
Works Minister V K Ebrahim Kunju, GCDA secretary, Law Secretary, Finance Secretary and PWD secretaries were also present at the meet.
Presentation said the assurance is good news for the people of West Kochi.
“The people of West Kochi have been greatly burdened by the toll collection for years.
There have been many issues and controversies regarding this. The special meeting was called to discuss the issue.
“He gave me his word that the people can drive toll-free after eight months. The rest of the money which has to be given to the contractor will be dealt with the state government,” Dominic Presentation MLA said.
The BoT bridge, which was commissioned to the public in 2001, was constructed at a reported cost of `22 crore.
As per records, the company has collected `44 crore till March 2013.
There has been public outcry that the company, which was collecting toll, was cheating the public with the connivance of state government officials.
On the Chief Minister’s assurance that the bridge will be made toll-free after eight months, Khalid Mundamppally, who has approached the High Court regarding these issues several times, said the assurance did not hold water.
“The company’s contract will be terminated by April 2014. So, what is the assurance given to the public?
“Once the contract is terminated, people won’t have to pay toll. If the Chief Minister is really concerned about the public, let him stop the toll collection now,” he said.
“The state government has promised to pay the needed amount to Gammon India through arbitration. In reality, the government does not have to pay anything to the company anymore,” Khalid added.
Greater Cochin Development Authority chairman N Venugopal also echoed his statement.
He said the arbitration sitting between the government and Gammon India, which was supposed to take place this week, is yet to take place.