The toll collection on Rohini Road below Kurseong will finally stop only from April this year and not January as claimed earlier. The delay is being attributed to the agreement that the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) has signed with the agency that collects the toll, which expires only on 31 March. It may be mentioned here that the chairman of the GTA Board of Administrators, Binoy Tamang, had announced on 6 November last year that the toll would not be collected from vehicles from January this year.
“The announcement had been made, but the agency that had been entrusted with the task to collect the toll ends only on March 31. We will again sit with them, after which the toll collection will be stopped,” Mr Tamang said. The toll on the 9-km stretch of road is being collected from vehicles since 1 December 2013.
The Rohini Road is now the most used road by people headed for Kurseong and Darjeeling from Siliguri and viceversa. While he made the announcement earlier, Mr Tamang had said that the toll for a mere 9-km stretch was a burden on the common people, with vehicles plying through other alternate routes like Mungpoo or Pankhabari not having to pay anything.
The introduction of the toll system there had met with criticism and opposition from several quarters, with some maintaining that the toll collection was not viable for such a small stretch, while others said that the tariff was too high, while the same was revised later.
Taxis presently pay Rs10, while all private vehicles, along with luxury taxis, have to pay Rs 30. Mini buses have to pay Rs 40, while pick-up vans have to pay Rs 20 and trucks Rs 30.