Tk 2228 cr earns from 136 km
Md Joynal Abedin Khan: The authorities concerned have taken massive preparation to collect toll from users of some 21,595 kilomiters Roads and Highways (RHDs) to raise funds for the maintenance cost of roads.
The Roads and Highways are now ready to take charges from commuters for using the Dhaka-Chattogram, Dhaka-Sylhet, Dhaka-Khulna and Dhaka-Rangpur Highways from next year, said an official who looks after the ‘Toll Wing’ of the Transport and Highways Division. Earlier, the government launched the toll collection drive from different vehicles in some routes, such as- for using 50 km of Nalka-Hatikumrul-Bonpara (Dhaka-Rajshahi Highway) route, 74 km of Jagadeshpur-Sherpur (Dhaka-Sylhet Highway) and 12 km of Chattogram Port Access Road, RHD sources said.
The authorities have earned Tk 2,228 crore for maintenance cost of the roads and highways in the fiscal year 2018-19 against the total cost of Tk 12,000 crore, they said.
The charge taking from Nalka-Hatikumrul-Bonpara route began on May 1, 2003 and from Jagadeshpur-Sherpur route on March 10, 2005 as well as from Chattogram Port Access road on October 16 in 2008, they said. The rate of the using charge of Nalka-Hatikumrul-Bonpara route is Tk 190 for trailers, Tk 150 for heavy truck, Tk 60 for large size bus, Tk 30 for microbus, and Tk 5 for motorcycle while using for Nalka-Hatikumrul-Bonpara route is Tk 280 for trailers, Tk 225 for heavy truck, Tk 75 for large size bus, Tk 45 for microbus, others four wheelers for Tk 10 and Tk 5 for motorcycle.
The fund-generating instruction came into effect just after the cabinet meeting with the prime minister in the chair in last year.
According to a survey by the RHD released in July, around 25 per cent of the 3,836-km national highways were in bad shape needs immediate maintenance.
The cost of maintenance of those portions of the highways was estimated at Tk 10,679 crore but the government has allotted only one-fourth of the required money for the purpose in the current fiscal year.
Earlier, the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has instructed government agencies to impose tolls on users of national highways to raise funds for roadwork.
The instruction was given at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council recently, said the Planning Minister MA Mannan.
“The prime minister has directed that the country’s national highways be brought under the framework of a tolling system,” he said.
“The tolls will be deposited in a separate account and allocations will later be made for the maintenance of the relevant highways,” Mannan added.
At present, tolls are charged at different rates for different types of vehicles on various bridges and flyovers across the country. But highways are exempt from toll payment.
As much as 21,595 km of roads and highways falls within the remit of the Roads and Highways Department, of which, national highways make up 906 km.
Mannan said that the toll to be collected as per the PM’s directive would be used for maintenance of roads and highways. ‘The maintenance cost of roads nowadays has become unbearable,’ he said.
He also mentioned that the toll for use of roads in western countries is a common and such four Highways will have taken ‘users paid’ system from next year.