Government to stand firm on tolls in Highways
Tasmiah Ahmed of DOT
Government has decided to stand firm on its decision regarding tolls in Highways. “After confirmation from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, there is no chance of stepping back from this decision”, said the Minister for Road Transport and Bridges, Obaidul Qader.
In response to journalists at a press briefing in the Secretariat yesterday, the Awami League’s General Secretary revealed this information. At this time, he also spoke about India’s National Citizen Registration (NRC) and Rangpur election in Ershad’s constituency after his demise.
On 3rd September, in ECNEC’s meeting, the PM ordered to collect tolls from Highways as well, besides Bridges. According to the PM, following the developed countries, we also need to collect tolls from notable highways like Dhaka- Chittagong, Dhaka- Sylhet etc. Not only that, money collected from tolls should be kept in separate bank account. The highways will be renovated using that money.
The Minister for Road Transport and Bridges stated that, ‘The implementation of the collection of tolls from Highways is under process. Every country in the world imposes tolls on highways. So, why will it be different for our Country?’
Roads need to be renovated. Overload causes road damages. According to the Minister, previously, Dhaka- Chittagong highway used to take 8 hours, but, now it takes only 3 hours. It saves a lot of time. So, there is no possibility of any loss due to imposition of tolls.
As per the Minister, the determination of the amount of toll is still under deliberation. In response to the concern about whether the imposition of tolls would increase transport fares, the Minister said, ‘Everything will be notified in the right time.’
According to him, ’Every highway will not be charged. Mainly, the four lane, six lane and eight lane roads and highways come under the category of tolls. We are not bringing the district roads under tolls.’
‘We are only thinking about bringing the four lane roads under this category, for example; Dhaka- Elenga, Joydevpur- Elenga, Elenga- Rangpur.’
Both passenger and cargo vehicles will have to give tolls. However, there will be different categories of tolls.
According to him, ‘The Ministry is deciding on the amount of tolls to be charged, keeping in mind the size of vehicles, roads etc.’ According to the Minister, there is no decision yet on the imposition of tolls on the Padma Bridge.
However, BNP stated that, ‘This policy is against public interest.’
According to BJP President on NRC,’ Those who are not named in the NRC list will not be able to enter India.’ Obaidul Qader said,’ The Indian Foreign Minister Jayshankar told us not to worry about this matter and we are following that.’
Regarding the Rangpur election, the Minister said, ‘Until now, Awami League has got candidates in the Constituency and is not thinking about any alliances at the moment.’