Whenever a private company provides some goods or services it charges are depending on the usage. The roads of our country are built in several different financing models and TOLL collection model seems to be the most controversial one. The controversies are not due to the actual collection of the TOLL which happens smoothly most of the time but the ones due to politicians, government officials and others trying to create news at the toll plazas. The citizens have become accustomed to pay taxes to good roads and are paying them really heavily, although a bit grudgingly.
But what does not become clear is why the government wants to continue with the toll?
If the above news article has any truth in it, then the government should have taken it without any second thoughts. But the government has not taken up the proposal offered and thus we are left with two worries – the article is wrong, the government did not like to take the money.
If the article is wrong then we can say that the government cannot be blamed for continuing with the Toll collections. But if the article is true, the question that remains is why the government has not accepted the proposal. This same government claims that the removal of check posts due to the GST has speeded up the transportation of the goods across the country. The removal of hundreds of toll booths would definitely aid in the savings in fuel, speed up the economy. T government did not take the proposal and also there is no sound reasoning provided by the government why it has not accepted the proposal. Either there was no such proposal as the article mentions or the government has side stepped from the answering the public why such a proposal was not accepted.
If the proposal has any truth, then one thing becomes clear. The TOLL being collected is a source of income for various money bags to keep their wealth in circulation. The actual TOLL collection is way higher than what the books show and a lot of the wealth is diverted for various other purposes and the nation is being openly looted with the connivance of the government. When the government is dealing with foreign nations when it is buying resources, why cannot the government make revised agreements based on the current situation and revise the deals so as to create a win win situation.
A layman solution would be to put a display board at each toll plaza indicating the money the government woes so that everyone is clear about the money to be paid to the road constructing party. The public will also know about the cost of the project after it has been completed. As and when the toll is collected, the display board should be updated live so that public feels that their money is being utilized in the right way. The interest rates and other numbers can be displayed and some good number crunchers can also verify the truth about the numbers. Without any clarity about the costs to the people and in the age of excess data, blind TOLL collection in our once highly corrupt nation will not work any longer.
People seek transparency, information and good service at a reasonable price.
TOLL is being paid but what is happening is also important.
Picture Credit: Rishabh’s Lens