Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Mr. Yudhvir Singh Malik on Thursday categorically ruled out afresh imposition of diesel and petrol cess and on the contrary revealed that his ministry has already proposed to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to completely abolish exemptions categories that currently avoid paying off toll on national highways.
Roughly Rs.1,20,000 crores are estimated dues that the government is supposed to sell out to owners and operators of national highways and if tolls are not levied on national highways, how can the required money be resourced, he asked.
Inaugurating a National Roads & Highways Summit under aegis of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry here today, Mr. Malik explained that in view of rising prices of crude oil internationally, the cess on petrol and diesel cannot be imposed afresh in order to smoothen the flow of traffic on national highways to compensate for toll tax as a suitable measure.
On the contrary, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has already proposed to the PMO to completely do away with that categories which currently exempted from paying off toll tax on national highways, explained Mr. Malik without stating the status of the PMO on the issue, arguing that a great deal of money is required to pay the owners and operators of roads by the government.
The Secretary further added that the proposal of his ministry relating to abolition of toll tax for exempted category is based on the logic as the government deprived the uses of red beacon on vehicles belonging to VIPs and VVIPs, emphasizing that let States promise abolishing toll tax on their highways before elections and such activities but Centre won’t.
Mr. Malik hoped that the government of the day would be able to proceed on highways constructions activities as targeted but regretted that some delays on construction activities of roads and highways have happened on account of poor DPR activities and lack of commitment on consultants who the government believes are hardly on sites physically and monitor such activities accessing google maps.
President, PHD Chamber, Mr. Anil Khaitan in his opening remarks exuded confidence that whatever national roads and highways have been promised by the government of the day, it will deliver on the target and that to with assured quality.
Among others who were present on the occasion comprised Managing Director, National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), Mr. Nagendra Nath Sinha; Director General, Border Roads Organization, Lt. Gen. Harpal Singh; Joint Managing Director, IRB, Mr. Sudhir Hoshing; Chairman, Roads, Ports & Other Infrastructure Committee, PHD Chamber, Mr. Ashish Wig; Secretary General, PHD Chamber, Mr. Saurabh Sanyal and its Principal Director, Dr. Ranjeet Mehta.