Member of Legislative Council (MLC) Shobhatai Fadnavis on Monday here said that she would lodge a criminal complaint against the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) and also launch an agitation from August 20, if toll collection is not stopped immediately.
She emphasised that toll is being ‘illegally” levied and she would stage an agitation along with various organisations from the city at Tadali toll gate on August 20, demanding its withdrawal with immediate effect.
Addressing reporters at the Circuit House here on Monday, Shobhatai said that toll is being levied on vehicles plying on the Chandrapur-Warora-Nagpur road at Tadali Toll Gate since 2000 supposedly in order to recover Rs 31.41 crore, which is the amount incurred to construct four railway overbridges on the Ballarpur-Chandrapur-Warora route.
“It is indeed a point to ponder that if contractors and the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation have not been able to recover this amount despite heavy vehicular traffic on the route till date. There is no account with MSRDC on the money that has been recovered even after a lapse of over 13 years. Now, the new directive from MSRDC states that toll would be levied until 2027, which is a grave injustice to the people of the district,” Shobhatai said.
She said that there is no Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation office here except in Mumbai and Nagpur, making it difficult to get information about the issue, even under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. She said that after sustained efforts, it has come to light that the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation went on to levy an additional amount of Rs 150 crore, which is absolutely illegal.
“We have collected bogus receipts given by contractors manning Tadali toll booth which do not have proper serial numbers in continuity and no account has been submitted to Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation from revenue earned by collecting toll from the booth.
Basically, the MSRDC in nexus with its contractors take undue advantage of law abiding citizens and exploit their innocence, which amounts to a blatant fraud,” she said.
She said despite a government resolution that there cannot be a second toll booth within 45 km on the same road, two more toll booths are coming up on either side of the Tadali toll booth, within a distance of 18 km and 27 km respectively, which in violation of the government resolution. A meeting with the district collector here was held on August 16 along with representatives and appraised the facts to him so that he could take up the issue with the state government, she said.
In an appeal to citizens to participate in an agitation against toll collection which is set to begin on August 20, she urged vehicle owners not to pay toll on August 20.
Incidentally, those who have extended their support to the anti-toll initiative include Chandrapur Bachav Sangharsh Samiti, MIDC Industries Association, District Transport Association as well as Rotary Club.