Observing that the work was incomplete, the Bombay High Court today restrained IRB infrastructures Developers Ltd from collecting toll on its road projects in Kolhapur town of Southern Maharashtra. The order was passed by a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka which held that the toll should not be collected by the company at all the entry points of the town as the project work had not been completed.
IRB claims to have invested more than Rs 500 crores for development of its roads project. Three petitions had been filed by residents of Kolhapur challenging the collection of toll as the work was not complete. The residents of the town had protested against the collection of toll in the recent past and some toll plazas were burnt down. However, no one was injured.
The decision of the High Court to stay the toll collection because of incomplete projects in Kolhapur may have an impact on such projects elsewhere in the State, legal sources said.The Court was informed that an independent consultant had certified that 95 per cent of the work on the road projects of the IRB Company had been completed. On that basis, the Government had issued a notification authorising IRB to collect toll for roads made for the Integrated Road Development Project in Kolhapur from December 2011.
However, during the hearing of the petitions, the Court concluded that evidence showed that 95 per cent of the project work had not been completed.It was argued that section 20 of the Bombay Motor Vehicles Tax Act provides that in order to levy toll the State Government has to prepare a capital outlay of the project which takes into account some factors such as the revenue earning capacity, vehicular movement etc.
The capital outlay of the project was not made. Instead, the State prepared a table of expenditure which did not justify levy of toll, argued Kolhapur Municipal Corporation lawyer S S Patwardhan. (PTI).