Bangalore: an access-controlled city

September 29, 2014

 Paying a heavy toll to exit, enter or commute within the IT city seems to be the norm. Toll plazas virtually control access roads into the city and in an ever-expanding capital, even a ride from your home to office could burn a hole in your pocket.

Mysore Road – one of the few last surviving un-tolled roads leading out of the city – will also be tolled soon as it is being converted into a six-lane national highway. The project, estimated to cost Rs. 3,000 crore, is being taken up under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model.

Proposals to take up the development of Kanakapura Road and Doddaballapur Road, two other entry-exit routes of the city, under the BOT model, is pending and the day it materialises, Magadi Road will be the only road without toll booths.

All major entry-exit routes of the city, that include National Highway 7 (Bellary Road, which leads to the International Airport), National Highway 4 (Tumkur Road), Hosur Road, and Old Madras Road, are tolled. Add to this is the peripheral ring road built by Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE), where commuters are tolled at seven locations.

The highest toll is being collected on the elevated expressway on Hosur Road, where a single one-way journey for a car costs Rs. 45 for a tollable road of 9.2 km, with a toll rate of Rs. 4.86 per kilometre, followed by Sadahalli gate on National Highway 7 with a toll rate of Rs. 3.4 per kilometre. The toll rates were recently revised amidst virulent protests. NICE Road is the only road that tolls two-wheelers as well.

This has meant that for those moving into the city’s outskirts a separate kitty needs to be reserved for paying tolls, which could even be thousands of rupees in a month, depending on the distance.

Urban experts argue that all entry and exit points of the city being access controlled will have a negative effect“The city with its large migrant population across the socio-economic spectrum of the society, would do better to not send out an elitist message,” said V. Ravichander, an urban expert.

Trade and commerce are adversely affected by the phenomenon, said S. Sampath Raman, president, Federation of Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He said the cost of labour and of transporting materials has shot up considerably in the last few years.

Farmer leader Kodihalli Chandrashekar said that though they had been demanding that vehicles ferrying farm produce be excused from tolls, it had not materialised. Even farmers who gave up land for these roads were suffering. He said that this may lead to inflation in vegetable and fruit prices in the city.


Source:The Hindu

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