Meghalaya opposition objects to toll on incomplete Umiam expressway

Opposition legislators in Meghalaya questioned the government over the collection of road tax on the incomplete Jorabat-Umiam Expressway, in violation of the Supreme Court ruling.

The Jorabat-Umiam Expressway, which is also known as National Highway-40, is the lifeline for Mizoram, Tripura and parts of Manipur and Barak Valley of Assam.

Raising the issue during the Question Hour on Wednesday, opposition National People’s Party (NPP) legislator James K Sangma attacked the state government for violating the Supreme Court ruling that toll should not be collected on the highway as it is incomplete and in a dilapidated condition.

Commuters on the expressway have been paying road tax for the past two years.

However, Public Works Department (Roads) Minister Martin M Danggo informed the assembly that the toll was being collected only for the completed stretch of 56.56 km of the total 61.80 km of the four-lane road.

Danggo said that the construction of the bypass at Umsning would be completed by June this year.

Supporting the NPP legislator, opposition Independent legislator, Saleng A Sangma informed the assembly that the Supreme Court in its order of August 27, 2015, had noted that the National Highways Authority of India and concessionaires cannot collect toll from commuters if the road is in bad shape.



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