BeyondHeaadlines Special Correspondent
Perne Phata toll booth which is 24 Kms away from Pune on Pune-Ahmadnagar highway has Maharashtra Navnirman Sena office next to it, but it was one of the lucky toll booth in city which hasn’t faced the wrath of MNS workers and not been vandalised, although according to toll workers it was closed for some time. It is to be noted that Perne toll both had permission to collect toll till 20th November, 2013 but is still running.
According to a letter written by chief engineer of Public Works Department, Pune to the secretary (roads), PWD which has its office in Mantralay, Mumbai, Perne Phata toll booth operators, had permission to collect toll till 20 November, 2013. In the letter, high court order has been mentioned according to which toll should be charged according to the work done on road. So as per the high court order 9.24 crores should be deducted from the original project value of 105 crores for Perne phata toll and remaining 95.76 crores should be recovered, which takes 10 year, 6 months and 14 days, which means the last date of collecting toll was 20th November, 2013.
On 27th January 2014 MNS chief Raj Thackrey asked his workers in rally held in Navi Mumbai to not to pay toll tax anywhere in the state. Following which MNS activists ransacked toll plazas across state, booths were vandalised in Pune, Nashik, Mumbai, Kalyan, Nagpur, jalna, Aurangabad and Beed.
In Pune, MNS activists vandalised toll bootsat Bavdhan, Manjri (Pune-Solapur Road), Moshi toll (Pune- Nashik road), Urse (Pune-Mumbai express way), Reliance company office at Khed shivapur which maintains Khed shivapur toll. But It’s important to note that Perne naka was spared by the MNS activists for obvious reasons.
When questioned, Kailash Katariya toll executive of Ashoka Infrastructure Ltd, Pune about the time limit of collecting toll tax on Perne Phata, he said, “we have permission to collect toll till 2015 and we have received government notification for extension till march 2014 on the basis we have also raised toll rates.”
When questioned Sandeep Appa Bhondhwe, Organiser, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, Pune district as to why they, have not acted against Perane toll, he said, “we asked them to close the toll when our movement was started and on our demand they immediately closed the toll. when asked is there any involvement of MNS activist in running Perane booth, that is why it’s not been attacked, Perane said, “we don’t have any connection with them and we didn’t required to attack the booth because they closed it when we asked them to do so and after which our activist were arrested and released in evening.”
Sanjay Pachange, President of Krantiveer Pratishthan said, “Political parties agitations are just temporary phenomenon, it’s a fact known to everybody that some of the activists of MNS are sub contractors at Perne toll booth, these guys just see their political gain and doesn’t take movement till the end.”
“Every day collection at Perne toll booth is 50 lakhs rupees a day and around 15 crores a month, political parties who do agitation and have office near toll booth have agitated for political gains as elections are coming, they also know that, that the legal limit to collect toll at perne was 20th November 2013, but now it’s been extended till march by political interference, so basically they also are not in favour of stopping illegal toll booths.”