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Raj attacks Maharashtra govt on toll tax

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena [MNS] chief Raj Thackeray Tuesday trained his guns on the toll collection policy of the Congress-led state government and alleged that there was lack of transparency in the process.

Raj threatened to launch a state-wide agitation against the toll collection policy and his party cadres late Tueday hit the streets demanding that the state be made 'toll free'. Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare also endorsed the MNS move from Ralegaon-Siddhi.

The MNS chief, while supporting toll tax in principle, questioned the need to keep charging road users even after the construction cost of roads, highways or flyovers had been recovered manifold by the state government. Toll tax is a major source of revenue for the state government. It is not wrong to impose toll, but to keep on collecting it even after the costs are recovered is wrong, Thackeray said, threatening to launch a state-wide agitation against toll collection in a couple of days.

Referring to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan's promise to make Maharashtra plastic-free, Thackeray demanded that first [Chavan] should make the state toll-free and rid the road-users of this daily burden.

Taking a cue from their chief, MNS workers were on the streets Tuesday evening protesting against money collection at various toll posts in Dahisar, Vasai in Thane and Nashik, leading to major traffic snarls.

Mumbai, which has five entry points, generates an estimated average annual revenue of over Rs 2 billion from road users. They are charged for every single trip they make through any toll post.

According to another senior MNS leader, these figures are only estimates and the actual figures are not disclosed by the toll collection contractor or the collection agency.
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