Assam will have altogether nine toll gates in its East-West corridor stretch as the NHAI is going ahead with full implementation while natural resistance is growing.
But both state government and the NHAI are determined that they would not back off like past as they needed money to maintain the road.
Already the Raha and Nazirakhat(Sonapur), Bijni toll gates are operational and other five gates are on various stages of implementation .
“We have spent Rs 11,000 crore to build this 600 odd kilometre and we plan to collect Rs 217 crore per year as toll tax,” said Mr Alok Kumar, regional head of the NHAI.
From Srirampur to Dima Hasao here are the toll gates
Kachugaon, Patgaon ( Kokrajhar), Dahalpar (Bijni), Nathkuchi(Pathsala), Madanpur(Changsari) Nazairakhat(Sonapur), Raha, Mikirati , Lanka Menderisa, Dima Hasao
However, this has been opposed by various organization. “We know that toll tax are necessary but do it only after completion as many stretches it yet to be completed and hence I oppose it,” said Mr. Kamal Medhi, the Congress spokesman.
The National Highways Authority of India has been entrusted with the ambitious project for widening and strengthening National Highways is the North East covering a stretch of 637 Km out of which 625 Km of road has been completed incurring an expenditure of about Rs 11,000 Crore.
As per Govt. of India rules the completed sections is to be put on commercial operations for revenue generation which shall be utilized for the maintenance and other developmental works.
“As per Govt. of India Gazette notification dated 05.12.2008 the Central Government may by notification, levy fee for use of any section of the national highway, permanent bridge, bypass or tunnel forming part of national highway and the collection of fee shall commence within 45 days from the date of completion of the section of the national highway, bridge, bypass or tunnel constructed through a public-funded project. Toll plaza may be established within a distance of 60 Km from another toll plaza”, said Mr Kumar.
“Accordingly in the completed stretches between Rakhaldubi to Kaljhar section and between Jagiroad to Nagaon section Tolling operations started at Dahalapara and Raha in the year 2015 and again at Raha in 2018, but due to public agitation the tolling operations could not continue for long. In the meantime, the completed section of the Highways got deteriorated due to non-maintenance” he said.
As various pressure groups have started protesting again Mr Kumar said that there would be no toll tax for 2-3 wheeler and for the people living within the vicinity there is a Rs 250 monthly pass.
After several meetings held with the State Government and lastly in the meeting held on August 2019 the State Government has consented to allow NHAI for tolling subject to maintenance of completed stretches. NHAI agreed accordingly started the maintenance of the completed stretches with works awarded to the tune of Rs 165 Crores and proposed tolling at 7 locations. Two are held back as some works are going on there.