A little does anyone realise that when he or she becomes the proud owner of a four-wheeler, the ownership will come at a premium. First, there will be an EMI to be paid to the financing bank. Then, there will be maintenance in terms of fuel and repair. Last, but not the least, the pinch of toll on the pocket, when the vehicles run on the roads. Sometimes the toll expenses beat the fuel expenses, causing widespread resentment. While coming out on the vehicles, motorists always calculate in the mind the number of toll plazas on their way and how much money is to be paid for crossing them.
Let’s look at the history of toll. Ever since the government took the decision to build roads on the build operate and transfer (BOT) basis, the problem of toll started taking the toll on the four-wheeler owners . As the time passed, it became a curse and began appearing in the form of outburst. There have been increasing incidents of people attacking the toll plazas and vandalizing the properties found there. It reached a great height in Maharashtra, when this issue reflected in the election campaigning. Thus, started the opposition against this growing menace at the political level. Hopes grew in the mind of motorists when it was proposed that the small private vehicles-cars, SUVs- would be excluded from paying the toll on the toll plazas operated by the state-run MSRDC and PWD.
For the last few months, the motorists had been keenly watching the move of the government to fulfil its promise of implementing the toll policy. Finally, the announcement came few days ago to unburden the private car owners from paying the much-hated toll. Though the decision has been taken in Maharashtra, it has a wider impact in the whole country. Because the people of the whole country are fed up with the system of toll, which seems to be like a penalty for using the public utility called roads. Bijli, Sadak, Paani are the basic necessities of man in any civilized society. People deserve the free access to them. Let’s hope that this small hole created in the big toll gets bigger and ,at the end, the hole survives and the toll dies.