Challenging the union government to come clean on its policy on Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis, All India Motor Transport Congress’ president, said the government policy of private participation on roads projects is full of frauds.

Every year transporters contribute more than Rs 3.20 lakh crore about 25 per cent of country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which is more than Rs 11 lakh crore.

“Our concern is that in India in the next few years 777 toll plazas under the BOT are going to start and already 186 is in operation out of which 32 toll stations are those which have recovered the money, but still they are collecting the toll taxes, we are not oppose for paying for maintenance or other charges,” he adds.

“We have written to National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to show how much they earn every day, month and year, but still we have not got any reply from their end, it is high time that government clean this mess and listen to our grievances as we the people on the receiving, Sunil Kale, General Secretary, Bombay Goods Transporters Association said.

The $ 362 million Mumbai-Pune expressway has already recovered the capital amount within six years. But still we have to pay the toll, as the government has signed a contract of 24 years with the private contractors. Collection on the expressway is about Rs 1.2 crore as per day, but the government figure shows half of it, Kale said.

Asking from where they are quoting the figures and information, the chief said, they have got all the information’s from the Right to Information Act (RTI).

Documents given by the association says, the stretches between Panipat and Jalandar where three barriers fall at Karnal, Shambu, Ladwal (Ludhiana), toll rates have increased from Rs 175 to Rs 441, Rs 105 to rs 264 and Rs 160 to Rs 461 for 10 wheel vehicles within 14 months, about two to three folds rise, after NHAI gave the road to M/s Soma-Isolux NH One Tollway, Tolling-Panipat-Jalandar BOT to convert from 4 lanes to 6 lanes.

In the eastern India, more than 29 illegal weighbridge and illegal check gates are located with the distance of 75 kms, the government is not paying heed to any of our complaints, the paper adds.

Toll collection is on between 23 km Panvel to Dronagiri route called NH 4B, which connect JN Port since 2006. The toll is collected by Mumbai JNPT Road Company, a private contractor, and the tolling agreement is renewed every year. The daily collection of the toll is about Rs 20 lakh per day which amounts to Rs 65-70 crore per year. On Satara-Kagal route the toll is highest in the country; there has been an increase of 15 percent to 20 percent every year, Maharashtra Truck owners Association representative stressed.

Take Kshipra-Indore on NH 3, Rau-Dhamnaod route, Chennai-Bangaluru up to Krishnagiri, Dehu Road-Shendra project, Anewadi Toll Plaza, Pune-Satara route and many other routes the overcharging is going on.

The transporters allege that government agencies even give completion letter to private developers before the work is started and start collecting tolls on the basis of the completed project.

The government has also included Wholesale Price Index (WPI) in the new 2008 rule that is applicable even after the projects are completed. The WPI can only be calculated on the incomplete projects because once the project is granted the WPI is taken into consideration.

Every year, close to 1.5 lakh people die and about 4 lakh people are injured on the roads all over India. According to an estimate, due to multiple checkpoints on road more than $2.5 billion of fuel is wasted by unnecessary formalities.

Jagdish Nehul