Essel Group's Toll Arm Returns Sion-Panvel Highway Back To PWD
In a first, Sion Panvel Tollways (SPTPL), a special purpose vehicle of Essel Infraprojects set up to manage toll collection on the Sion-Panvel Highway, has decided to handover the toll plaza to the state, citing non-payment of dues to the tune of Rs 689 crore, from December 29. With this, the Essel group company becomes the first toll collection company in the state to walk back on the concession agreement and stop toll collection.
A company official said the Public Works Department (PWD) owed it Rs 689 crore, which includeed Rs 390 crore of grants that government had promised when it scrapped toll collection across the state in June 2015. The department had also not been paying the monthly reimbursement of Rs 4.7 corore since February 2017, the company said.
The PWD spokesman could not be reached immediately for his response.
Following this, 12 toll plazas were fully dismantled. Still there are toll plazas in Pune, Nashik, Nagpur, Aurangabad, and Kolhapur among other cities in the state.
"We would remove all toll barriers from December 29. We'd also stop all maintenance and operation activities from then," (SPTPL) said in a statement on December 28. The company claims that it has not been receiving the grant from the PWD for maintenance and operations of the project for more than a year.
The Rs 1,700-crore project, with a concession period of 17 years, was exempted from toll collection by the state government in 2015 as part of the ruling party's poll promise, which offered to exclude private vehicles from toll.
The company further said it had initially offered the state to take back the project from December 15, but had since then extended the deadline to December 29.
"SPTPL would make it a 'deemed handover' in case the state does not come forward and take over on December 29, and all agencies currently working for operation and maintenance of the project shall be terminated and demobilised," the company added.
With inputs from Housing News