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Tuesday, September 14, 2010



The Editor
Dear Sir,
Before even completing the globalization process India has marched well ahead as far as collecting the toll is concerned. India may be collecting more toll than developed countries. The several toll booths and the speedbreakers before and after them are really painful and pinching for the vehicles, drivers and vehicle owners. All the people paying the toll, collecting the toll and those whe are not concerned with it, will have to pay a heavy price for the severe pollution due to wastage of fuel in and around the toll booths and octroi posts. In figures the cost of fuel wasted and the pollution caused due to toll booths, octroi posts and speed breakers could be much more than the money collected there.

I stay in Thane. If I have to go to Airoli which is about 5 km., I have to pay Rs. 60/- as toll one way. This amounts to Rs. 12/- per km. If I go to Pune I end up paying Rs. 200/- as toll one way and spend at least 15 minutes on the four toll booths. This amounts to more than one Rupee per km. I go to office from Thane to Chembur. I spend Rs 1000/- for monthly Toll pass which is valid for one car only. It cannot be used in the car pool. This means I spend Rs. 12,000/- every year on Toll. This is more than 1 percent of my salary. I don’t think, there is so much toll anywhere else in the world.

How much toll has been collected so far, how it was utilized and how much toll is to be collected in the coming years, all this should be made open to the public by the Government. The toll collection today is totally one sided, injust and bias. Without giving any reasons the toll was increased from Rupees 15 to 20 and then to 25 and now to 30 in spite of the tremendously increasing number of vehicles. In spite of the number of days in the month or on which date you buy the pass, the price is fixed to Rs. 1000/-. If you have two cars, you are more rich. Buy two passes. One pass will be valid for one car. The Government has deliberately passed on the responsibility of collecting toll to a private company. The toll collecting gangs are comfortably robbing the people. Whether the annual receipt of the toll to the Government is more or less, right or wrong is not known to the public. Since the Government is paying a silent observer roll, it is injustice for everyone.

In reality all the Governments should be wealthy because of the revenues. But we find all the Governments begging for money. Due to this begging tendency the Government has to build bridges on BOT conditions. Once this is done the Government has to dance on the tune of the contractor and victimize the public in the process. Instead of this the Government should have ample money to build bridges and roads. It is fine if the Government wants to do it with public money. Just increase the petrol and Diesel prices by 1 Rupee per litre for these jobs. With this extra Rupee the Government will be able to build bridges and roads all over the country within a short time. This extra Rupee will avoid the traffic jams and delays near the toll and octroi posts. The savings in the fuel due to this will hike the foreign exchange reserves and because of the reduction in pollution, we will be able to breathe some fresh air .The leading industries in India are today getting ISO certifications to claim that they are not causing harm to the environment. .But as a country we are causing serious damage to the environment by wasting fuel at the toll and Octroi posts and on speed breakers.

The extra Rupee will be able to abolish the toll and octroi completely and there will be no injustice on anyone. Anyone using 200 litres fuel monthly will spend 200 Rupees extra and the one using 50 litres of fuel monthly will slpend 50 Rupees extra. But by paying the toll and octroi, today we are directly or indirectly spending more money than the proposed extra Rupee. Secondly all the money collected as toll and octroi is not spent on public works. Lot of money is spent in maintaining the systems collecting toll and octroi. The extra Rupee proposed on petrol and Diesel will on the other hand go directly to the Government treasury without any extra cost through the existing network only. We are in the computer age. The extra Rupee so collected can be disbursed to the existing toll and octroi posts or the connected muncipalities in the same proportion all over the country. The Government can get rid of the debts of all the contractors. In future there won’t be any BOT projects required. The Government can take up all such projects with its own finance. The people of INDIA will be proud of such self dependent Government.

Today thousands of people are paying toll and octroi by standing or sitting in long ques, finding their way through traffic jams on bad roads. This exhibit of shameless tolerance can be seen day and night throughout the country. I don’t think it can happen anywhere else in the world. I am also one of the shameless characters in the tolerance exhibit. Anybody can think why am I so arrogant to write all this. Instead of that I should stop the extravagancy of using the car every day and stay away from toll and octroi. But for convenience, comfort and for saving time I want to use the car and I am using my car in car pool to reduce pollution.

It will be now sixty years since independence. But it is decided that Thane is out of Mumbai limits. It is like another state. Once it is decided like that, it is easy to rob the people both ways in the form of toll and octroi. BEST can operate in New Bombay but not in Thane. If there is proper BEST service from Thane lot of people like me will stop using their car everyday. Using car is no more a status symbol, it is becoming a necessity. The number of vehicles is going to multiply in the future. Unless these traffic jamming and polluting octroi and toll booths are irradicated the vehicle movement will not be possible then.

Once we get rid of the octroi and toll posts, there will be tremendous saving in the fuel, which will increase the foreign reserves. In a longer run we as a country will be able to reduce the fuel prices by avoiding the wastage of fuel in traffic jams and get Carbon credits for less emission.

There may be some objections in getting rid of the speed breakers. But we must find solutions to these problems and get rid of the speed breakers. Whenever any vehicle has to be stopped either for a pedestrian carelessly crossing the road or for a speed breaker, fuel is wasted and pollution increases. This is well known and need not be told again. But when a person stops for the vehicle to pass, nothing is wasted. This needs to be told to people at all levels. Instead of building speed breakers every corner, there should be a speed limit at such places. People on the roads should follow their rules and vehicle owners should follow their rules. Anyone breaking the traffic rules and the drivers driving irresponsibly causing traffic jams should be punished strictly. If the police could achieve this we will be proud of such police and such Government.

These are the feelings of a middle class civilian. Experts in the field may refine the procedure and advise accordingly.

(Satish B. Kunte)
Ganga Bhuwan,
Brahmin Colony,
Naupada, Thane (W),
Pin: 400 602.
Tel: 2540 1032.