Mumbai Pune Expressway: Why Are over 10,000 Vehicles Like LCVs, Buses, Trucks ‘Exempted’ Daily from Paying Toll
While ordinary vehicle owners are made to pay money at every toll plaza on the Mumbai Pune Expressway (renamed Yashwantrao Chavan Expressway), every day more than 10,000 vehicles, including light commercial vehicles (LCV), cars, buses, trucks, multi-axle and three-axle vehicles, are travelling without paying any toll. 
 
Information published by Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) on its website for December 2021, shows 330,797 vehicles passed from the four toll plazas of Khalapur, Talegaon, Kusgaon and Shedung, under the exemption and violation transaction category. 
 
Pune-based Right to Information (RTI) activist Vivek Velankar, who is also president of Sajag Nagrik Manch, says, “While sharing the information, MSRDC has not specified the number of vehicles under exempted and violation category. I doubt if more than 10,000 vehicles from the exempted category like ambulances, vehicles used for emergency services or owned by members of Parliament (MPs) or members of legislative assembly (MLAs) are travelling daily on the Expressway.”
 
“Further, does the data published by MSRDC mean that these VIPs and exempted category people are travelling in trucks, buses, LCVs, multi-axle or three-axle vehicles? During December, 1,850 buses, 5,193 trucks, 20,196 LCVs, 5,086 multi-axle and 2,266 three-axle vehicles used the Expressway without paying any toll. How is this possible or how can the Corporation justify it,” he asks. 
 
(Source: MSRDC)
 
In 2016, Mr Velankar had requested the state chief information commissioner to direct MSRDC to publish all the vehicular traffic and toll collection data on its website. 
 
According to MSRDC, the non-tollable count includes reuse of daily, return or monthly passes, exit trips, exemption and violations. However, even considering this, during December alone, 330,797 vehicles were allowed to pass without paying any toll on the Expressway. Since the Corporation did not provide category-wise details, it is difficult to say how many, out of the 330,797 were from the exempted category and how many have actually violated the rules (by not paying toll).
 
Mr Velankar has sent a letter to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray requesting for direction to MSRDC to publish vehicle numbers separately under the exempted and violation category. 
 
As reported by Moneylife in May last year, 1,136 radio frequency identification (RFID) tags have been distributed to 788 members of Parliament (MPs) under the exempted category.   
 
Pune-based activist Sanjay Shirodkar, who has been working on the toll issue, had told Moneylife that, “As per the weekly report of NHAI, as on 31 January 2021, the Indian Highways Management Company Ltd (IHMCL) had issued 4,204 free FASTags to those in the exempted category. Earlier, just five to seven top office bearers like the President and the prime minister were exempted from paying toll on official duty. Now the list has increased to more than 25 categories.” (Read: FASTag: 788 MPs Obtained 1,136 Free Tags)
 
FASTag is a device that employs radio frequency identification (RFID) technology for making toll payments directly while the vehicle is in motion.
 
As Moneylife reported, on 8 November 2019, the ministry of road transport and highway (MoRTH) released guidelines and standard operating procedures for issuing FASTag for the exempted category of vehicles. It says all types of vehicles included under the category of ‘exempted from paying user fees’ should also be encouraged to use FASTag, adding, “This will have a good demonstrative effect on all other road users and will encourage them to use FASTag for seamless movement across user fee plazas.” (Read: FASTag: Commoners Are Denied Benefit of Return Journey Discounts while VIPs Grab ‘Exempted RFID Tags’)
 
Here is the information shared by MSRDC on its website…
 
 
Comments
Kamal Garg
4 months ago
Are we sensationalizing the issue because as per the author, these non-paying persons include monthly/seasonal pass holders also which could be any number.
swishservicesent
4 months ago
Why the authorities aren't taking any action against heavy vehicles which ply and take up all the lanes on the expressway. They block the flow of traffic with out following any lane discipline. This is a nuisance especially on the Mumbai Pune expressway, especially the ghat section causing heavy jams and backlogs. Why aren't the Highway patrol taking any action against these offender's for not driving in designated lanes

Why are the expressways with out any street lights when the user are paying through their nose for using these freeways.
What is is status of the
bill to increase the speed limits to 140 kms on expressways. The current limits are ridiculous defeating the purpose of freeways.
k4allofu
Replied to swishservicesent comment 3 months ago
i think it not the speed but, having toll on the expressway itself defeats the purpose. We have to wait for 20 min approx to cross one toll.
Kamal Garg
Replied to k4allofu comment 3 months ago
Whereas the law says that if you have to wait for more than 5 minutes, then, you are not liable to pay toll tax. No body listens or cares for this.
abvabv14
4 months ago
What these vehicals were carrying ? Anything suspicious ? Today in advanced technology one can collect and ask for respective individual/ Department to ask for return if eligible
zamzam.exim
4 months ago
From my personal experience on the expressway, the main toll evaders are police, defence service personnels. It's common knowledge that private vehicles owned by these personnel make daily trip to an fro ferrying fare paying passengers illegally and displaying their Id cards at the toll booth to evade paying tolls.once I was sharing a ride with an army personnel who haggled about the fare with the driver for himself and his fellow companion and struck a deal for a way lower fare assuring the driver that the driver wouldn't need to pay toll as they the defence personnel would display their services ID and help in evading paying the toll charges.
sathya2011
4 months ago
It is better if the government issue fastag paid by the respective department to such vehicles and collect the toll as it will do away with doscretion at the level of toll stations. Anyway our legislators are eligible for all perks and let this be one more in that list and no one can control that.
edroossarf
4 months ago
Window for toll booth to pocket money. Every vehicle must have Fast tag to pass toll, later let it be reimbursed or
Vehicle exemped toll should have different Fast tag. Everything has to be automated.
k4allofu
Replied to edroossarf comment 3 months ago
i think they have the fast tag too.
vitthalkakad1989
4 months ago
This is not actual reports
R_K
4 months ago
Such a charade.
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