The BJP-led NDA government’s proposed move to revise the toll rates for National Highways with proposal for increasing charges for private cars might stir a hornet’s nest in Assam.
The toll gates and toll rates have been a sensitive issue in Assam, a state where most of the National Highways, particularly those in Barak Valley, are in the most dilapidated condition till date despite the government announcing several schemes to improve the road conditions.
The central government is planning to come up with a national policy aimed at revising the existing toll rates for National Highways and reclassifying vehicle types. The proposed policy may increase the charges for private cars.
The central government had already hired the Boston Consultancy Group (BCG) and tasked them to work with the National Highway Authorities of India (NHAI) to prepare a draft policy to revamp the toll system.
Constructed in 2015, the toll gate at Raha in Assam’s Nagaon district, which is one of the major toll gates in Assam, had to be closed down in after several pressure groups opposed imposition of high toll, particularly on private vehicles.
An agitated mob also burnt the toll gate down at Raha in 2018.
The Opposition Congress in Assam had also termed the toll gates as illegal syndicate in Assam and demanded union minister of road and surface transport Nitin Gankari to remove the toll gate until the road conditions are improved.
It may be mentioned here that although conditions of the majority of roads in Assam are not good, the conditions of the National Highways in Barak Valley are pathetic.
Although improvement of the road conditions in Barak Valley was one of the major poll planks of the BJP government, the conditions of the roads still remained the same.