Toll Has To Be Paid Twice In Lonavala, Citizens To Go On Strike Again

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Lonavla, 16th March 2023: Similar to the Somatne toll booth, the Kusgaon toll booth of Valvan village near the interchange of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway is being illegally lifted, and the toll is being collected twice from vehicles. After paying the toll at the Varsoli toll booth on the Mumbai-Pune National Highway, the heavy vehicles heading towards Mumbai take the expressway from Valvan as entry is prohibited on the National Highway passing through Lonavla city. However, as soon as they enter the expressway, the toll is charged again from these vehicles.

Until 2020-21, vehicles were charged a single toll receipt at the Kusgaon toll booth while the toll payment receipt at the Varsoli toll booth was accepted. But now, the toll is being collected twice. Meanwhile, Collector Pune has banned the entry of heavy vehicles from Lonavala city, but due to this additional toll collection, afflicted drivers carry vehicles dangerously through Lonavala.

Due to this, accidents often happen in Lonavala city. Local citizens are losing their lives. To prevent this kind of situation, the receipt of toll from the Varsoli toll booth should be accepted at the Kusgaon toll booth as before, otherwise, this toll booth should be shifted to the place where it has been notified in the Kusgaon area; it has been demanded on behalf of ‘Me Lonavlakar’.

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The citizens of Lonavla protested last year for this demand while protesting with ‘Rasta Roko’. MSRDC and IRB only killed time by promising to take immediate action. The four-lane work of the Mumbai-Pune National Highway between Manshakti Kendra and Khandala Battery Hill is stalled. There is no sidewalk anywhere in this area.

A year ago, MSRDC and IRB had promised to straighten the road by removing the curves to remove the black spot at Nazar Corner Khandala. In reality, however, no action has been taken. To limit the speed of vehicles on the national highway passing through Lonavla city, it was decided to install speed breakers at five places as per rules but it has not been implemented. Blinker lights were supposed to be installed in places, but they have not been installed.

Dr Rajesh Deshmukh, the Collector, has banned the entry of heavy vehicles from Lonavala and Khandala cities between 7 am and 9 pm. Yesterday morning, a bike driver and a schoolgirl were injured in a collision with a container. MSRDC and IRB should immediately fulfil the promise given to the citizens of Lonavla; otherwise, citizens have warned that they will protest again.


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