BENGALURU: Zipping through most of the state highways will now come at a price for motorists. On Friday, the state Cabinet approved a proposal to collect toll on 19 State Highways running a total length of 1,530 km.
These roads were developed under the Karnataka State Highways Improvement Project (KSHIP), aided by the World Bank, and executed by Karnataka Road Development Corporation Ltd (KRDCL). According to sources, these roads have been developed as per National Highway standards by spending huge amounts with assistance from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
“Levying of toll is inevitable, considering the cost of construction of roads and their maintenance,” a senior minister told Express after the cabinet meeting. Some of the state highways that will be tolled are Hoskote-Chintamani bypass (53 km), Dobbspet-Koratagere-Pavagada-Kambdur (AP) (91 km), Gubbi-C.S.Pura-Beeragondanahalli near Yediyur (49 km) and Yediyur-Kowdale-Mandya (60 km),
The government’s decision is set to hit not just motorists, but all segments of society. The toll will automatically raise the cost of commute as transport operators will raise bus fares on routes operated through these state highways.
The prices of essential commodities too may go up as transport cost will be passed on to consumers. Lorry owners will have to raise transport rates, says Karnataka State Lorry and Commercial Vehicle Owners Association president G R Shanmugappa.
The decision will have an adverse impact on tourism too as tourist taxi operators will have to factor the toll into their tariff. This is not fair as the vehicle owners are already paying high motor vehicle tax and cess on fuel, Shanmugappa added.
Speaking to Express, FKCCI assistant secretary B Vijay Kumar expressed displeasure over the move stating that input cost for the industry in Karnataka is already higher than neighbouring states. The move will further increase cost of production. Ultimately, it is the common man who will have bear the brunt due to the rise in transport cost, he added.