New Delhi: A Parliamentary Committee has said collection of toll should stop once the concessionaire, operating the road on BOT basis, has recovered the invested capital and interest from the project.
“The Committee recommends that in Build Operate Transfer (BOT) Annuity basis contracts, the concessionaire should be prevented from collecting toll once he recovers his capital and interest on the project,” the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport said in its report.
It also said there is a need for rationalisation of toll tax being charged on national highways.
“The Committee is not convinced with the reasons advanced by the Department of Road Transport and Highways for collecting toll on roads and bridges in perpetuity,” it observed.
The panel also expressed concern over multiple taxation on vehicle owners in the form of cess on petrol besides toll and said there was “no logic” in such a system.
Committee on Infrastructure headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has directed that one per cent of the Central Road Fund meant for national highways be earmarked for a dedicated safety fund.
The panel expressed concern on the delay in releasing previous fund accruals to the CRF and has asked the Department to take up the matter with the Finance Ministry to resolve the impasse.
The panel also suggested that the Department should fix short-term targets for the contractors so that projects could be monitored on a regular basis and remedial actions could be taken up immediately.
It said the Department should finalise a database on the performance of the contractors involved in the National Highway Development Project (NHDP) and encourage those contractors who strictly comply with the standards and ensure quality control.
The Annual Plan for the Department in this fiscal envisages an outlay of Rs14,590 crore, of which Rs12,500 crore is gross budgetary support while internal and external budgetary support (IEBR) is Rs2,090 crore.
The Planning Commission has estimated that the fund generated from cess on petrol and high speed diesel for the current fiscal would be Rs12,830 crore, of which Rs6541.06 crore has been earmarked for development of national highways.