The National Highway authority has set new records, increasing the toll tax without any prior notification. According to new changes toll tax has now been raised from Rs. 5 to Rs. 150 for different categories.
Toll tax on cars has been increased to Rs. 125 from Rs. 110, for wagons it has increased to Rs. 155 from Rs. 135 and for buses the new charge is Rs. 325. According to NHA, the increase in tax is in correspondence to the weight of the vehicle. Heavy vehicles tend to damage roads more thus are charged higher.
Chairman National Highway authority defended the raise in toll tax by highlighting the rising costs for maintenance of the highway.
There is high inflation in the country and the costs of construction and road materials have gone up several times. This has upped maintenance expenditure necessitating an increase in the toll tax,” the NHA head said.
However, the parliamentary panel is still dissatisfied over this stupendous rise in the toll tax and regarded it as unconstitutional.
Senator Kamil Ali Agha exchanged some hot words with the Chairman NHA, demanding an explanation for such an increase.
At some toll plazas the increase in toll tax was nominal while on others it was phenomenal”, said Agha
The blame game took a sharp edge when National Highway Authority held Frontier Works Organization(FWO) responsible for the increase in tax.
According to Express Tribune, FWO spokesperson Colonel Zafar Iqbal denied all such allegations and said that change was done according to the concession agreement signed by both parties.
NHA has given us a schedule to increase the toll plaza tax for the next 20 years and this increase has been made while following it, said Iqbal.
In this regard, the Federal Ombudsmen has issued a notice to NHA and FWO over the increase in toll tax. The action was taken following a complain which stated that no notification had been issued for this sudden rise in tax.
Islamabad-Lahore motorway is considered a cheap travel option for the masses however, the price hike is surely a matter of concern for many who are unaccustomed to pay such rates. The increase in the toll tax will also elevate the bus fees making the life of commuters miserable.