Did Gujarat govt take the recent Nano incident pretty seriously? Jokes apart, CM Anandiben Patel has announced that all private vehicles, small cars and three wheelers will not have to pay toll tax across Gujarat from 15th August 2016.
This move comes just ahead of 2017 assembly elections and was made while Patel was inaugurating the Amra Van Mohatsav at Balchondi village in Kaprada taluka, Valsad. This exemption, which has also been confirmed by Transport Minister Vijay Rupani, will only be limited to private vehicles while taxis and commercial vehicles will continue to pay toll tax.
A government notification to this effect will be issued while revenue loss arising out of this new announcement will be borne by the state. There are 31 state highways running across 19,761 kms and 12 national highways covering 4,032 kms in Gujarat.
There are around 50 toll booths across Gujarat and estimated revenue loss will be between INR 80-100 crores per annum for state highway and about INR 150 crores per annum for National Highway. How this loss of INR 250 crores will be covered is not yet clear.
Transport minister Vijay Rupani said, “The tax exemption will be applicable to all toll booths in the state, including those on national highways.”
Even as toll booths across national highways do not fall within the jurisdiction of the state government, it was made clear that the state government would compensate the contractors of such toll booths for losses suffered.
This announcement by the CM has been made in view of growing demand across the state for toll exemption. It also comes at a time when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led state government has to contend with protests from communities such as the Patidars and Dalits while state assembly elections in December 2017 are also in the offing.