Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said toll should be introduced for long-haul vehicles plying four national highways to create a fund for regular maintenance of the highways.
She also asked the authorities concerned to think about ways to introduce toll for vehicles running on the four national highways, Planning Minister MA Mannan told reporters at a press briefing.The premier made the directive while approving a project to set up 21 axle load control centres at entry points of the national highways to check plying of overloaded trucks on the highways.
“You should think about introducing tolls (on the national highways),” Mannan quoted the premier as saying at the meeting of the Executive Committee of National Economic Council. Sheikh Hasina talked about imposing tolls on vehicles not only for using bridges but also for the national highways, he added.
Four national highways are Dhaka-Chattogram, Dhaka-Khulna, Dhaka-Rangpur and Dhaka-Sylhet.
With the money collected from toll, a separate fund can be created which will be utilised for repair and maintenance of the national highways, the planning minister said. He, however, clarified that tolls would be imposed on long-distance vehicles; not on short-distance ones.
The minister also claimed that there is such toll collection system in many countries in the world.
At the Ecnec meeting, the premier also gave nod to another project worth Tk 800 crore to repair the newly-built Dhaka-Chattagram four-lane highway only three years after its construction.Low-quality construction work and plying of overloaded trucks and covered vans have been blamed for the damage of the key national highway built in 2016 at a cost of Tk 3,000 crore.
Sheikh Hasina also directed the authorities to introduce a centrally controlled automated system so that no vehicles can temper their load. The matter should be strictly monitored, she said.
Besides, the premier said, there should be strong monitoring so that buses can not be tempered to a larger size or get overloaded with passengers.