September 29, 2014
From October 1, toll charges at the five entry points of Mumbai, where private firm Mumbai Entry Point Ltd (MEPL) has recovered nearly 40 per cent of its total investment within the first three years, are set to increase for all categories of vehicles as per a schedule decided earlier.
While toll charges for cars and light commercial vehicles will increase by Rs 5 to Rs 35 and Rs 45 respectively, toll rates for trucks and buses, and multi-axle vehicles will jump to Rs 90 and Rs 115 from the existing Rs 75 and Rs 95 respectively.
This is the first increase in toll rates at the five entry points of Mumbai ever since MEPL commenced toll collection as part of the securitised contract in November 2010. These charges will remain constant for three years, after which there will be another revision.
Data obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act shows that from November 19, 2010 when MEPL started toll collection, till February 2014, the company has earned a revenue of Rs 863 crore at the five entry points of Mumbai. During the same period, nearly 18.5 crore vehicles have passed through the five entry points of Vashi on the Sion-Panvel Highway, Mulund on the Eastern Express Highway, Dahisar on the Western Express Highway, Airoli and the Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg.
MEPL had secured the toll collection contract for a period of 16 years by paying a securitisation fee of Rs 2,100 crore. In exchange, the firm has to maintain 27 flyovers and allied structures in Mumbai.
The state government has given the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) the right to collect toll till November 2027, while MEPL’s concession period of 16 years is scheduled to end in October 2026.
An official from MSRDC, which has given the toll collection contract to MEPL, said, “The MSRDC will, at the end of 2015, conduct a review of the traffic flow, increase in the number of vehicles, total revenue earned, and revenue expected till the end of the contract as against the expected cash flow figures that MEPL had submitted to us. If there is any possibility of incremental revenue, then as per contract, it will be shared equally between MSRDC and MEPL.”
September 20, 2014
Owners of commercial vehicles registered in Gurgaon have been exempted from paying toll at the Kherki Daula plaza on National Highway-8 from Monday.
The company managing the toll complex withdrew the notice it issued last month and decided to keep Gurgaon-registered vehicles out of its ambit after hundreds of residents from nearby villages protested at the toll complex and removed the boom barriers making the stretch toll free for close to two hours.
The protesters literally took over the toll plaza around noon. A compromise between the company and the villagers could be arrived at only after the local administration intervened.
The villagers have been at loggerheads with Millennium City Expressway Private Limited, the company managing the toll, over past one month after the company started collecting toll charges from commercial vehicles owned by the villagers, who were earlier exempted from it. Vehicle owners of around 40 villages were exempted from toll charges until last month.
The decision was opposed by the villagers and they had staged a similar protest on August 19 as well. In response, the toll company had filed a criminal complaint against some of the villagers. The residents have been pressurising the local administration to withdraw the notice. They even held a mahapanchayat over the issue on August 27 that was attended by residents of around 60 villages.
Villagers have been at loggerheads with the company managing the toll after it started collecting charges from them. They were earlier exempted from it
September 10, 2014
Navi Mumbai: Motorists plying on major roads leading to and from the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), who are not port-bound, will not have to pay toll soon. Instead, the toll amount will be recovered only from port-bound vehicles at the JNPT end.
JN Port Road Company Limited — a special purpose vehicle (SPV) floated with equity participation by JNPT, City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) and National Highways Authority of India – has dropped the BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) model of widening the three roads at a cost of Rs 2,700 crore (revised estimate).
Sources from Cidco said that the BOT model, which involved recovery of investment through toll from all motorists, was dropped to avoid people’s ire related to payment of toll.
Now, JN Port Road Company Limited has decided to undertake the project on EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) model under orders from union minister of shipping, road transport and highways, Nitin Gadkari.
JNPT chairman N N Kumar said, “This BOT model has been dropped officially following orders from Nitin Gadkari. A decision has been taken by the SPV board and a tender is likely to be issued in another 20 days.”
Gadkari is understood to have dropped the toll model on roads leading to and from JNPT, as PM’s visit to the city on August 16 came in the backdrop of the state’s decision to consider waiving off toll on the cost it incurred on upgrading the 10-laning of the Sion Panvel highway (Rs 1,220 crore) from BARC to Kalamboli.
During his visit, Narendra Modi also laid the foundation stone for JNPT SEZ, at Sheva. It is the first port-led growth envisioned by the PM on engineering, procurement and construction model.
On Thursday, Congress chief minister Prithviraj Chavan responded to an earlier suggestion made by Ajit Pawar for a waiver of toll on the Sion-Panvel highway, and said, “A decision is likely in a few days.” Pawar had sought Cidco to pay Rs 1,000 crore and the MMRDA to bear the rest of the cost.
Apart from this, motorists have another reason to cheer. They can enjoy a seamless drive along three roads leading to and from the port – NH-4B, SH-54 and Amre Marg – as specific stretches would be widened soon with the addition of lanes and service roads (See Box). The project will also aid container trailers plying to and from the port. As the present capacity of freight handled will go up once the fourth JNPT terminal becomes operational, the number of container trailers will also increase.
Source:Times of India
September 10, 2014
Justice MN Bhandari has directed the NHAI and the contractor to file an affidavit within seven days. The next hearing of the case is on September 10.
The order came during the hearing of a writ petition filed by Lalit Kumar Sharma challenging the collection of toll on Jaipur-Delhi portion of NH-8 despite the poor condition of the road.
The court expressed its disappointment and came down heavily on NHAI and the lending bank, IDBI. It observed in unequivocal terms that as per the clause of the agreement, substitution can never mean reinstating the earlier contractor. The court expressed unhappiness over the careless approach of NHAI and the bank in this matter. The court also asked how the toll could be increased when the default continued. The NHAI stated that the increase in toll was due to the maintenance work of the existing four lanes. On this, the court expressed its displeasure and stayed the increase in toll till an affidavit is filed by the NHAI and the contractor saying that there exist a proper and maintained four-lane highway.
NHAI could not answer a question as to by what authority the bank was taking such decisions against the provisions of the agreement. If any inquiry is conducted and the fault of bank comes to light, it can be made a party and prosecuted by the court.
September 2, 2014
The next time you travel to Puducherry via Tindivanam or to Tada falls and Vellore, you will have to pay a higher toll.
The fares at the Tindivanam and Karanodai toll plazas have been hiked from September 1, based on the increase in the wholesale price index (WPI), an index that measures and tracks the prices of wholesale goods. It is also a measure of inflation. A total of 22 plazas under the control of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in the State have increased their rates by 5.98 per cent.
V. Chinna Reddy, Chief General Manager (Technical), NHAI, said that in 2012-13, the WPI was 167.62 and in 2013-14 it was 177.64. “This is an increase of 5.98 per cent, which is reflected in the rates. The increase is done every year so as not to put too much of a burden on motorists,” he said. At the Tindivanam plaza, motorists will have to pay Rs. 39, LCVs Rs. 68 and trucks and buses Rs. 137 for one-way travel. Similarly, for those using the Karanodai plaza, cars will have to pay Rs. 44, LCVs Rs. 77 and trucks and buses Rs. 154. P. Murugesan, a cab driver from Nesapakkam, who travels often to Puducherry and Tiruchi, said the hike was not justified as vehicle owners had already been spending quite a bit on fuel. “Some middle and lower-middle class customers grumble when it comes to paying toll rates. They say as it is they have to shell out a lot for the travel. Very few customers don’t mind paying as the road is good,” he said. Though the distances between toll plazas range from 50 to 60 km, the rates are very different. “Uniform rates would be helpful,” he added.
July 10, 2014
Dipak Kumar Dash, TNN |
NEW DELHI: With the change of government, a major modification in the “tolling” norms on highways is likely. The road transport ministry is mulling a model where commuters are asked to pay toll for the stretch they actually travel rather than paying for the entire corridor between two toll plazas.This concept is called “closed tolling”; something that’s practiced on Yamuna Expressway.
At present, open tolling system is followed across the country. Under this system, a commuter has to pay for the entire distance between two toll plazas even when he travels only a few kilometers.
During a power-point presentation before road transport minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday, ministry officials said local commuters have protested paying toll for an entire stretch despite travelling only short distances. Sources said the minister asked officials to find a solution to this.
“Now we will start work to address this concern of many commuters. We are very much aware of our condition in comparison to what is prevalent in developed countries. The model of closed tolling can be followed in the case of new expressways and highways,” said a ministry official.
Government officials said the ministry will have to amend its toll rules so that toll plazas can be allowed at shorter distances. “We can address commuters’ concern of paying toll at shorter intervals, once we implement the single tag that can be used for paying toll across the plazas,” a source said.
On the menace of overloading of vehicles, the minister told officials that there should be higher fine for intentional overloading. The penalty can be less for overloading up to 10-15% where it’s unintentional, such as a tractor carrying farm produce.
July 10, 2014
NEW DELHI: In a move to ensure that toll roads are maintained well and expanded to meet the growing traffic, the latest Economic Survey has recommended to the government to examine whether the contract can provide for “reduced tariff” if the operator fails to meet the promised services.The report has recommended that international practices such as ‘traffic trigger’ and ‘re-equilibrium discount’ could be examined to address some of the problems faced in the sector. A ‘traffic trigger’ clause in the contract implies that once a certain volume of traffic is reached, the concessionaire is obligated to increase the capacity so that minimum level of service is maintained. The ‘re-equilibrium discount’ is used to reduce tariff when performance parameters are not met. In such case a table of discounts is pre-defined in the contract.
Considering the major problem in the execution of road projects on public-private partnership (PPP) mode, the Survey has recommended an alternative strategy. It said government agencies can award projects as engineering contracts to build the asset in which the construction company is protected from political and regulatory risks. In such cases, the government bodies would bear the cost of construction.
Soon after the construction is over, a second contract can be given out to a private firm to toll the asset for one year and produce data about present levels of toll revenue. “This could set the stage for a long-term, say contract combining tolling and maintenance. These projects would be able to absorb a high level of long-term bond-market financing, and thus yield low tolls,” the Survey said.
It said these firms would generate cash flows for the government which would offset the original expenditure for constructing the asset.
For all infrastructure sectors, the Survey has said lack of consistency in policies needs to be addressed urgently apart from removing procedural bottlenecks. “Removing procedural bottlenecks, improving governance, and above all maintaining consistency in government infrastructure policies are some issues that need to be urgently addressed,” the report said.
The document highlighted how as many as 110 out of 239 central sector infrastructure projects, each costing Rs 1,000 crore or above, have reported delays, which range up to 26 months in cases of steel, coal, power and petroleum projects.
The total original cost of implementation of these projects was about Rs 7.4 lakh crore and their anticipated completion cost is likely to be Rs 8.98 lakh crore, implying an overall cost overrun by 21.3%, it said.
The Survey mentioned that while growth in power and fertilizers segments was higher, sectors like coal, steel, cement and refinery witnessed lower growth.
July 7, 2014
Santosh Sonawane, TNN |
NASHIK: Journey to Chandwad and up north on the on the Mumbai-Agra national highway is set to become costlier, with a revision in the toll fees at the Chandwad toll plaza coming into effect from July 1.
M/s Ircon Soma Tollway Pvt Ltd, in a concession agreement with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for the development, operation and maintenance of the 118-km section of NH3 from Pimpalgaon to Dhule on a build-operate-and-transfer (BOT) basis, has raised the toll fee marginally.
The toll fee for cars, passenger vans or jeeps has been increased to Rs 120 from Rs 115, for light commercial vehicle (LCV) to Rs 215 from Rs 200, for trucks and buses to Rs 425 from Rs 400 and for multi-axle vehicles, to Rs 685 from Rs 645.
Defence vehicles, including those eligible for exemption in accordance with provisions of the Indian Toll Act, police vehicles, fire-fighting vehicles, ambulances, hearses, vehicles of the post and telegraph department, central and state government vehicles on duty and vehicles with VIP symbols have been exempted from the toll.
While the rise in the toll fee is marginal, it could still prove to be pocket pinch for motorists who travel frequently between Nashik and Chandwad or Malegaon, Dhule. Many commuters from Nashik are up in arms against the NHAI over the toll collected at Pimpalgaon and Chandwad.
Taking into account the stiff opposition over the revision in toll collection at the Pimpalgaon toll plaza, the district collector had convened a meeting with NHAI officials last month, wherein it was suggested that vehicles registered in Nashik and Malegaon (MH 15 and MH 41) be exempted from the revised toll, until a meeting with senior officials of NHAI was held.
A vehicle-owner from Nashik with a car registered with some other RTO than Nashik and Malegaon will have to pay Rs 140 to cross the Pimpalgaon toll plaza and again Rs 120 at the Chandwad toll plaza, if he proceeds from Nashik to Chandwad or Malegaon. Officials of the Chandwad toll plaza said that there was no facility of a return toll fee – replete with the general 50 per cent discount on the return journey over a scheduled period – at Chandwad, and hence, motorists will have to pay full toll on a return trip as well.
“We are waiting for the meeting of district collector Vilas Patil with senior officials of NHAI over the toll collection at Pimpalgaon toll plaza before taking a stand on the toll collection at Ghoti, Pimpalgaon and Chandwad toll plazas,” said Anju Singhal, president of the Nashik Transport Association. Singhal said that according to NHAI guidelines, the distance between two toll plazas should not be less than 60 km. The distance between the Pimpalgaon and Chandwad toll plaza is only 35 km.
April 7, 2014
DEEPA H. RAMAKRISHNAN
If you are travelling to Bangalore or Tindivanam via Tambaram, you will now have to shell out more as toll rates on these roads have been hiked by 10 per cent from April 1.
Of the 40 toll plazas under the control of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in the State, the rates have been revised for 18. The rates will come into effect at the other plazas soon.
The hike has not been received very well by freight carriers, omni-bus owners and the general public. R. Sukumar, president, Tamil Nadu Lorry Owners Federation, termed the hike ‘unfair’.
“About 8 per cent of our operating costs go towards paying toll charges. Already, the prices for diesel, permits, tyre and insurance premiums have increased. Load carriers are unable to increase freight charges as it would only dissuade industries from moving goods,” he said.
Mr. Sukumar complained that though a portion of the toll charges was required to go towards maintenance of the roads, the NHAI was not spending much on maintenance. “Despite the fact that accidents keep happening and over 50 vulnerable spots have been identified all over the State, they don’t have ambulances or cranes as stipulated in the contracts with the companies collecting tolls,” he said.
As far as omni buses are concerned, each of the around 600 buses that ply in and out of the city will have to pay an additional Rs. 30 for every trip. M. Chandrasekaran of the Tamil Nadu Omni Bus Owners Association said that as ticket prices were increased only three months ago, there would not be another hike in the near future.
“There is a lot of competition in the market already. If we increase the prices further, more buses will run without passengers,” he said.
KPN Travels’ K. P. Natarajan said a consultation would be held amongst bus owners soon to decide the next course of action. “The industry as such increases bus ticket fares only when diesel prices increase. When that hike is effected, we will take into account recent toll fare revisions also,” he said.