Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Toll collection at Aroor

Any construction work related to national highways is looked with lot of suspicion these days. the main reason is that of BOT mechanism adopted by national highway authority (NHAI). many complain that the toll fee levied at Aroor is exorbitant in a state like Kerala. NHAI and Central Government counters it saying that these numbers are accepted elsewhere hence why not in Kerala. they cite the examples of other states and then add that Kerala is richer than many other states in that respect to give this toll fee. I accept the argument that Kerala society has some how cultivated the habit of getting everything free be it water supply or electricity. at the same time, I disagree with NHAI argument on the pricing front. I am not sure how did they arrive at the same figures as such they apply in other states. NHAI publications report that PCUs per day on Aroor-Edapplly stretch is about 50000. this shows that this is a high dense corridor. they are expecting the numbers to grow to 70000 by 2015. vehicle ownership in Kerala is 1:6 and in Kochi it is 1:4. this is very much different from national averages. So BOT model should look for volume business since high number of vehicles are passing through this corridor. the rates shall be revised according to the number of vehicles that use this corridor. this is a classic example what happens when the decisions are taken in Delhi and not at the local level studying the demand and supply. Central Government should not decide on the local pricing though National Highway Authority is involved in the process. the decision should be left to the local government.

there is one more argument to substantiate the above reasoning. Kerala is different in the car sales pattern as many own premium cars and vehicles. those who own premium vehicles shall be taxed in these scenarios though the argument on equity front may differ. but i would conclude that it is the market driven mechanism to support and sustain the public transport.

2 comments:

m k mathai said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
m k mathai said...

yes. there are many things wrong with the toll business. how the terms are arrived at is not cler to many. how the amounts and the period are fixed (irrespective of whether it is done in delhi or locally in kochi) should be made known to the public and if possible posted on public websites.
it is heard that in the gammon bride contract there are clauses which force the govt to pay penalty and/or extend the period if the no. of vehicles fall below certain number or if there are blockades including hartal. and no clause for any rebate or reduction in the period even if the traffic goes up ten times from the second year of collection and remains there for the rest of the collection period. this indeed is not democratic by any reckoning.

coming to the toll concept itself , can't there be a viable alternative to this toll business like say additional tax on premium vehicles ?