Experts question absence of toll-free service roads

Updated - May 23, 2016 06:59 pm IST

Published - May 05, 2014 11:56 pm IST - BANGALORE:

Experts and commercial vehicle operators have questioned the absence of service roads on either side of National Highway 7, which should have been made available free of cost for those not willing to use the expressway.

A senior police officer well-versed with traffic management told The Hindu that it is the duty of the government to provide good roads. However, tolled roads have come to stay due to the inability of the government to construct good roads. In such an event, it is the duty of the government to offer an alternative for those not willing to use the tolled road, he said.

Moreover, the question in the present instance is the quantum of hike, which is unimaginable, the officer added. The same can be questioned in court, which could seek records regarding expenditure incurred on road construction and toll fee calculation, he said.

Give alternative

The Federation of Karnataka Lorry Owners and Agents Association has questioned collection of the toll even from those using the road beside the expressway. Federation President G.R. Shanmugappa told The Hindu that the toll has been hiked on the basis of a 2008 agreement between National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the Navayuga. The fee should have been reduced if there was an increase in vehicles using the road by 12.5 per cent. However, it has been hiked even though there is an increase of over 40 per cent, he added.

There is lack of transparency in the dealings between NHAI and the contractor, Mr. Shanmugappa alleged and demanded a whitepaper on the expenditure incurred on the expressway.

BMTC to wait and watch

The BMTC has decided not to immediately pass on the burden of the increased toll to passengers.

BMTC Managing Director Anjum Parvez told The Hindu that the rate for a 50-trip pass has been increased from Rs. 2,300 to Rs. 7,900. While Vayu Vajra passengers might not feel the pinch if fares are increased marginally, he was more concerned about ordinary passengers in the Devanahalli sector where BMTC operates nearly 50 buses. In fact, BMTC intends to increase services on that route due to the demand. The corporation is unwilling to increase fares further as passengers are already unhappy with the recent fare hike, Mr. Parvez said.

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