Tolls will stay, but looking at providing some relief
Electronic toll plazas in the country will not be removed, however, the government is considering providing some relief, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said.
“If you want good services, you have to pay for it. Toll will not be abolished. But we are looking at ways to provide some relief,” Mr. Gadkari said at an event organised by All India Transporter’s Welfare Association here.
However, he did not elaborate on the nature of relief the government intends to provide.
Stating that levying toll is a necessity for the government, Mr. Gadkari said the government is converting tolls into eTolls to help reduce time and fuel cost.
“Toll policy is a necessity and we are not happy to levy it. But with the use of the latest technology we will make the work of transporters and logistics players easier by looking at ways to reduce fuel costs,” the Minister said.
According to sources, Mr. Gadkari meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to deliberate on the toll policy.
The Minister also advised transporters to use bio-fuels that will help them save money as well as reduce pollution.
On looking at alternative ways for transporting goods, he said the Road Ministry is likely to introduce the Inland Waterways Bill in Parliament today that aims to convert 110 Indian rivers into transport channels.
Besides, the government will establish multi-modal hubs in Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Sahibganj (Jharkhand) and Haldia (West Bengal) to facilitate water transport facilities for goods, he added.
At present, only five river stretches have been declared as waterways.
Mr. Gadkari said waterways are more cost effective than road and rail transport and can contribute significantly in propelling economic growth.
The Ministry seeks to reduce the traffic burden on roads and promote water transportation which costs barely 50 paise per km in comparison to Re. 1 by railways and Rs. 1.5 through roads.
Inland waterways comprise rivers, lakes, canals, creeks, backwaters etc and extend to about 14,500 kms in the country.