Will hold meeting on compensation for toll exemption
Mumbai: Maharashtra government today assured the Bombay High Court that it would hold a meeting of its officials with the representatives of Sion-Panvel Tollways Pvt Ltd within two days to decide the compensation amount to be paid to the latter for exempting vehicles from paying toll tax.
Sion-Panvel Tollways has argued that the notification, issued recently by government, allows exemption from paying the tax for cars, school buses and government vehicles, which is affecting the cash flow of the company.
As against the estimated toll collection of Rs 45 lakh, the contractor was able to collect only Rs 10 lakh and the balance amount was a loss to the company, the court was told.
The government produced minutes of the meeting held on July 8 with Sion-Panvel Tollways wherein they had discussed the issue of compensation but could not arrive at a decision.
In its reply, government sought adjournment by a week while assuring the HC that it would hold a meeting with the toll collection company within two days to decide the compensation amount to be paid to them.
In this meeting, Additional Chief Secretary of Public Works Department and chief engineer of Mumbai region would participate, the government told the court.
Accordingly, the bench, headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah, adjourned the hearing on the matter to July 20.
Earlier, the HC had asked the government to explain how it was in the public interest to waive toll for all light motor vehicles (LMV) on Sion-Panvel toll point as ultimately the government would have to bear the expenses, which it would recover from the public exchequer.
The bench had also asked the government to reconsider its decision. “If you do not want to reconsider the decision (of waiving of toll), then we (HC) will do it for you,” the Chief Justice had said.
Government had in a notification dated January 3 authorised Sion Panvel Tollways Pvt Ltd, which runs toll booths on a ‘Build-operate-transfer’ basis, to collect toll from LMVs at the rate of Rs 30 each.
In another notification issued on May 26, LMVs such as autorickshaws, cars, jeeps, taxis and three-wheeler delivery vans were exempted from paying toll at Sion-Panvel toll point.
Aggrieved by this, Sion Panvel Tollways Pvt Ltd challenged the latest notification before the High Court.