Government can’t end toll tax, says Gadkari

New Delhi, Nov 10 (IANS) Union Road, Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday that to provide good services on national highways, it is necessary for the government to collect toll tax and it cannot put an end to it.

He also said that his ministry is striving to achieve the target of constructing 42 km roads per day.

“To provide good services, toll is necessary. If you need good road network, toll is must. We can not put an end to it. Without toll, we won’t be able to develop highways,” Gadkari said while addressing Economic Editors conference

The minister said that the massive work has led to construction of 22 km of roads per day whereas the ministry is striving to achieve the target of 42 km roads per day.

Gadkari said that after coming to power at centre in 2014, his ministry has so far constructed 14,594 km of roads and highways while it has awarded projects for construction of 21,247 km.

He said that his ministry had set the target of 15,000 km road construction for the financial year 2016-17 but till October, it could construct only 3,591 km at the speed of 22 km per day.

The ministry has awarded only 4,433 kms of roads as against the target of 25,000 km during the current financial year, the minister said, adding that on an average, project clearances takes about one and one-and-a-half year, and this delays the award process.

Over the construction of 5.575-km-long Mahatma Gandhi Setu (bridge) over the Ganga River in Patna, the minister said that work will begin by December end.

“Yesterday, there was a presentation in the ministry regarding this project. They were seeking more than 4 years time to complete the project but I have asked them to complete it in one and half years,” Gadkari said.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had approved the repair and reconstruction of the bridge in June this year.

The bridge will be constructed after dismantling the damaged pre-stressed cantilever arms superstructure and subsequent re-decking by steel truss at a cost of Rs 1,742.01 crore.