The Telegraph
Tuesday , January 21 , 2014
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Fresh prod to ease cash toll

Then chief minister Arjun Munda earned the thanks of two-wheeler owners when he waived the Rs 5 levy on using Adityapur Toll Bridge in October 2012, but the company operating the Rs 74-crore link was left saddled with losses.

The deal was that the state industry department, a stakeholder in the bridge built on PPP mode, would pay Adityapur Toll Bridge Company Ltd (ATBCL) the deficit every month. After 14 months and many reminders, ATBCL sent the state a fresh one on Monday.

So far, the firm’s loss due to the waiver is Rs 1.8 crore. The Rs 5 levy from two-wheelers was its star revenue earner.

Sensors on the bridge keep tabs on two-wheelers crossing daily. The numbers tabulated every month, the revenue deficit is calculated at the rate of Rs 5 per two-wheeler.

ATBCL managing director Sudhanshu Kumar said the state did not keep its part of the financial bargain, hitting the company’s health.

In November 2013, a special panel of state industry, finance and road construction departments, chaired by the latter’s secretary Rajbala Verma, promised to resolve the issue.

Dues apart, ATBCL also wanted a nod to hike toll rates.

Nothing happened since the meeting, though the panel promised to clear dues by December 31, 2013.

“As the meeting was headed by road construction secretary Rajbala Verma, we sent a reminder addressed to her department,” Kumar said.

He added the two-year-old bridge had not got any repairs since inception. “We thought we would use the state’s money for repair,” he added.

The ATBCL charges Rs 10 from autos, Rs 15 from cars, Rs 20 from mini buses and vans, Rs 30 from trucks and Rs 40 from multi-axle vehicles.

It earns below Rs 50,000 a day from toll on weekdays and less on weekends. Economic slump has reduced heavy vehicle traffic.