ISLAMABAD: The National Highway Authority (NHA) and the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) continue to pass the buck over exorbitant increase in toll tax on the Islamabad-Lahore Motorway (M-2).
While both the parties continue to shift responsibility on each other, commuters using M-2 continue to pay the hefty amount without getting any prior notice.
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Several people have raised the issue on social media and expressed concern over the decision taken by the government. The issue was also raised in the Senate standing committee meeting on communication in which Senator Kamil Ali Agha said that there had been a sharp increase in the toll tax during the past four months.
“Now the commuters have to pay Rs580 as toll tax instead of Rs210,” he said.
NHA chairman Shahid Ashraf Tarar clarified that FWO had taken the decision without consulting NHA.
He added that the issue had been taken up by the Ministry of Communication higher-ups who have called a meeting on October 3 to discuss and resolve the matter.
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When contacted, FWO’s spokesperson Colonel Zafar Iqbal denied all allegations and said that the increase had been made under the concession agreement signed by FWO and NHA a few years back.
He said that Islamabad-Lahore Motorway was handed over to FWO on December 15, 2014 for operation and maintenance for the next 20 years.
Furthermore, NHA and FWO had inked a BoT agreement for the beautification and redesigning of M-2 in April 2014.
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“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.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2016.
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