Centre to shut down ‘unviable’ toll plazas

Making highway transport easier for travellers is government’s priority, says Nitin Gadkari
 The government’s priority is to make highway travel easier, and is in the process of identifying projects where toll collection has become unviable, Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has said. “In the next three years, trucks on roads will be able to cover up to 600 k.m. per day,” he adds.
The Minister said e-Toll being introduced at toll gates in the country will help in reducing the waiting time of vehicles which presently costs 2-3 per cent of GDP. He said Ministry officials have been advised to identify projects up to Rs. 100 crores investments, where either the cost has been recovered or was about to be recovered and projects where collection of toll has become unviable.
“Till date, 74 publicly funded tolls have been identified and out of those 61 shut down. Similarly, projects of investments less than Rs. 100 crore under public-private-partnership will also be shut down after addressing contractual obligations,” says a government press release quoting him.
The Minister said the government is brining changes in the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988, and a Bill in this regard with several innovative steps will be introduced in the next session of the Parliament.
Emphasising on bringing down cost of construction of roads while improving quality, the Minister said the government is giving priority to construction of cement-concrete roads as they have low maintenance cost. The Minister added that many of the stalled road projects have been restarted by the new Government, while bottlenecks in the others are being addressed.
Expressing concern over high rate of accidents in the country, the Minister said, “Poor road designing at several places is a basic reason for this and the government is looking into the issue.”
The government is planning construction of truck terminals and truck clubs with facilities such as dhabas, rest rooms, toilets etc.
The Minister called upon the industry leaders to invest in the development of waterways in the country as transportation on water is much cheaper compared to rail and road. He also underlined use of alternative fuels such as ethanol, bio-diesel, bio-gas and bio-CNG for reducing pollution and saving money spent on importing oil.

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