VELLORE: The Vellore District Bus Owners’ Association (Association) has appealed to the Centre to annul the present National Highways toll policy and adopt the 1997 toll policy introduced by the NDA government.
President of the Association, D Vijaya Govindarajan said, the indiscriminate hike in tolls by toll plazas in Vellore district has discouraged transportation by road and road-use by commuters in addition to raising the overall price index. Despite protests by transport operators, toll plazas continue to collect excess fees. He said, when the NDA government had framed the toll policy in 1997, the base rates for various categories of vehicles was in the range of 40 paise to `3. The NDA had implemented a fee based on whole sale price index (WPI) each year.
The UPA-I government implemented a flat 3 per cent increase of fees every year on top of the base 40 per cent of the WPI toll fee. The NDA policy allowed revision of toll fees once in 5 years. As per the NDA policy, vehicles were allowed to cross the toll plaza unlimited number of times if they paid one-and-half times the toll fee during a 24-hour period. A monthly pass cost 30 times the cost of a one-way journey, which was earlier restricted to 50 trips per month. Almost all eligible VIPs such as MPs, MLAs, and government officials were exempted from paying toll.
The Association welcomed the announcement of Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, that tolls should only be collected after 100 per cent completion of road project. He stated that tolls should not be collected after the cost of the project is recovered.