Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, told Rajya Sabha members on Wednesday that he was the “”father of expressway toll in India”” because he built the first such road in Maharashtra during his tenure as state minister in the late 1990s.
During Question Hour, members expressed concern about the construction of toll plazas on expressways within city borders, forcing residents to pay tolls even when commuting within the city.
Gadkari, who is frequently praised by opposition members for the performance of his ministry, assured the members that the problem would be resolved and claimed that it occurred during the UPA’s tenure.
“Before 2014, when the UPA government was in power, tolls were installed near city areas and everyone was required to pay them, which is very unfortunate and illegal,” he said.
“Fortunately or unfortunately, I am the father of this toll because, for the first time in this country, I created the toll system, and the first BOT (build-operate-transfer) project was Thane in Maharashtra,” Gadkari added.
The first-of-its-kind Mumbai-Pune Expressway was built between 1995 and 1999, during Gadkari’s tenure as Maharashtra’s PWD minister.
The minister promised that with the new approach, “we will see that the toll plazasd in the city area are gone and that there will be no fee on the citizens.”
Nitin Gadkari levelled serious allegations against the Congress government.
This issue had arisen in the Congress government, according to the Union Minister. Prior to 2014, tolls were levied near urban areas, and people are still suffering as a result. This is both regrettable and illegal. City dwellers walk 10 kilometres on the expressway and are charged a toll for the remaining 75 kilometres.
Gadkari stated, “Call it good fortune or misfortune, but I am the father of this toll.” I implemented the toll system for the first time in the country. The Mumbai-Pune Expressway project was started between 1995 and 1999, when I was the PWD Minister in the Maharashtra government. We are currently working to improve it.