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January 15, 2009

Speedbreakers for Tollroads?

Business Today has an article describing the resistance - both from political parties and users - for a newly introduced toll road on the outskirts of Bangalore.
The toll collection activity at six entry and exit points on the 41-km peripheral road, forming an arc on the southern fringes of the City, ignited instant opposition. Many protesters alleged that the particular stretch between Bannerghatta Road and Electronic City—the suburb that boasts many famed IT addresses, including Infosys—is not ready yet, and they are accessing it through a mud road. There were others who found the toll to be steep.

Different sections gave vent to their ire in different ways. While some blocked traffic on the road, others destroyed toll booths at a few places. Following this, Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE), the project developer, suspended toll collection, particularly at the Electronic City booth, which bore the maximum brunt of protesters ire, for a few days.

...There are a number of roads across India, including the Golden Quadrilateral, which levy a fee on users and are functioning without much problem. “People will not resent paying a toll if they find benefit in it. They will not complain, too, as long as they can see their savings from using the road being higher than the toll that they pay,’’ says Pradeep Puri, MD, Noida Toll Bridge Company, a listed firm borne out of a PPP initiative and promoted by Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS).

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the private equity and venture capital ecosystem in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports. Email the author at