Kathmandu, August 21
The Roads Board Nepal (RBN) has proposed the government to increase the toll for vehicles plying on different routes citing insufficient budget for the maintenance of roads.
A toll is a special payment or fee exacted by the government, basically local authorities, for some right or privilege for passage along a road or over a bridge. Such charges are collected from the vehicles plying different routes for the maintenance of the same road network.
RBN has stated in its proposal to the Ministry of Finance (MoF) that the toll being levied on vehicles in different routes has not been reviewed since long while the road maintenance cost has been increasing every year.
“The annual budget that the government issues for road maintenance is inadequate to keep road networks in better conditions. Though effective collection of vehicle toll is one of the sources to generate funds for road maintenance, the currently levied toll is very low and we haven’t been able to enforce such fees on vehicles in a number of routes authorised by the government,” said Krishna Singh Basnet, executive director of RBN.
Though the RBN was formed under the Road Boards Act of 2002 to provide sustainable fund for planned maintenance of the roads and allowed the entity to collect vehicle toll on nine different routes of the country, RBN has been collecting the toll only along three routes.
As a result of weak management at RBN, the vehicle toll is limited only to Narayanghat-Hetauda, Narayanghat-Muglin and Narayanghat-Butwal road sections.
Such charge for vehicles plying on Narayanghat-Hetauda section is limited to Rs 30 for heavy vehicles and Rs 20 for light vehicles. Similarly, the toll along the Narayanghat-Muglin route is limited to Rs 35 for heavy vehicles and Rs 25 per light vehicles. Likewise, RBN charges Rs 40 for heavy vehicles and Rs 30 for light vehicles plying along the Narayanghat-Butwal route.
The RBN has recently recommended the government to hike the toll fee to Rs 95 for heavy vehicles and to Rs 55 for light vehicles plying along Narayanghat-Hetauda road section.
Similarly, the new toll for automobiles running along the Narayanghat-Muglin route has been proposed at Rs 125 for heavy vehicles and Rs 75 for light vehicles.
The new toll for the Narayanghat-Butwal route has also been proposed at Rs 110 for heavy vehicles and Rs 60 for light vehicles.
“We will also soon implement similar toll for vehicles running on six other routes, like Damak-Ithari, Kakarvitta-Damak, Hetauda-Birgunj, Birgunj-Pathalaiya, among others,” added Basnet.
As per Basnet, the increased toll rate should be enough to maintain and reconstruct the roads on that particular route.
RBN aims to collect at least Rs three billion annually as toll from vehicles plying on the nine road networks.
A version of this article appears in print on August 22, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.