Deepa H Ramakrishnan
Rs.1.08 cr. collected in December 2009 against Rs.54.67 lakh in April 2002
CHENNAI: Monthly toll collection on East Coast Road (ECR) from Chennai to Puducherry touched an all-time high of Rs.1.08 crore in December 2009, a significant increase from the Rs.54.67 lakh collected in April 2002 when the toll operations began.
The road, which offers a totally different scenic view to the city-dweller, is 113.2 km long and was formed in 1998 by interlinking and improving roads in a string of small fishing villages along the coast.
Officials of the Tamil Nadu Road Development Company, which operates the tolling operation, said that over the years there has been a gradual increase in the collections.
For the fiscal 2002-2003 the collection was Rs. 6.35 crore, for 2003-2004 it was Rs.7.38 crore, for 2004-2005 it was Rs.7.63 crore, for 2005-2006 it was Rs.7.93 crore, for 2006-2007 it was Rs.9.47 crore, for 2007-2008 it was Rs.10.78 crore, and for 2008-2009 it was Rs.11.06 crore. For the current fiscal, till 31 December, 2009, it was Rs.8.8 crore.
Apart from the road’s USP, its sights, including glimpses of rural life, of rolling beaches and estuaries, an increase in vehicular population is the reason attributed for the increase. Toll is collected at six plazas at Uthandi, Kelambakkam, Mahabalipuram, Chengalpet, Sadras and Hanumanthai (near Puducherry).
However, the officials said that out of the total revenue, around Rs.3.5 to Rs.4 lakh per month is spent on maintenance alone. This includes shoulder correction, BT-laying, spot works, drainages, reflective surface.
Apart from this, there is also the repayment of loan and payment of salaries, running an ambulance service, establishment, patrol vehicles and security. The project is approaching the breakeven stage, they said.