Road Transport and Highway Minister Nitin Gadkari in a recent Rajya Sabha session said that he is the “father of toll tax” on expressways in the country. The Union Minister made this remark as he built the first such road in Maharashtra during his stint as the state minister in the late 1990s.
The senior minister made the remark while responding to supplementary queries in Question Hour where members expressed concerns over the setting up of toll plazas on expressways inside city limits due to which the local population had to pay toll even when commuting within the city.
The road transport minister, who is often praised even by opposition members for the performance of his ministry, assured the members that the issue will be rectified and claimed the problem had arisen under the UPA rule.
He said before 2014 when the UPA government was there, tolls were introduced near the city area and everyone had to pay it. “This is very unfortunate and unlawful,” he noted.
“Fortunately or unfortunately, I am the father of this toll because, for the first time in this country, I started the toll system and the first project of BOT (build-operate-transfer) was Thane in Maharashtra,” Gadkari said.
Under Gadkari’s stint as PWD minister in the Maharashtra government between 1995 and 1999, the first of its kind Mumbai-Pune Expressway project was taken up. The minister said with the new system which is going to be launched, “we will see that the city area will be eliminated and there will be no charge on the people.”
He said often the people in the city use only 10 km of the expressway road and are made to pay the toll for 75 km. “That is absolutely wrong. But that is not my problem and it happened during the previous government. We will rectify the thing,” he said, allaying the concerns of members.
(With inputs from PTI)