The Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges has collected toll of Tk 10 crore 1 lakh 36 thousand from two bridges in Chandpur in the current fiscal year 2020-21.
A reliable source in the Chandpur Roads and Highways Department confirmed the matter on Monday.
According to the information received, there are four major bridges in Chandpur district. These are: Chandpur-Raipur Bridge, Matlab Bridge, Chandpur-Puran Bazar Bridge and Hajiganj-Ramganj Bridge.
The Chandpur-Raipur Bridge was leased by a toll collection company for a period of three years. In the last three years, the government has received revenue of Tk 7 crore 80 lakh 56 thousand from the bridge. The contract was signed on 12 July 2018 and will expire on 30 June 2021. The length of the bridge is 246 meters. It was built at a cost of taka 18 crore 12 lakh. The bridge was built over the Dakatiya River flowing to the south through the Chandpur district.
The Matlab Bridge was built to make connection between the North and South. Moreover, it was built to accelerate trade, make communication better and transport agricultural products quickly to the different districts including Dhaka and Narayanganj from Chandpur. The toll collection agreement for the bridge was signed on January 1, 2019 and will expire on June 30, 2021. The government has received revenue of taka 2 crore 20 lakh 80 thousand from this bridge till the financial year 2020-21. It was built on the Meghna-Dhanagoda river at a cost of taka 87 crore 84 lakh. Its length is 304.51 meters. The bridge is
currently under process for a new toll payment agreement.
Meanwhile, the toll collection agreement for the Hajiganj-Ramganj Bridge was signed till November 20, 2002. Which was valid till November 9, 2010. Toll collection was declared free in 2010 at the time of the demand of local people, traders, transport owners and workers. The length of the bridge is 116.61 meters.
The toll agreement for the Chandpur-Puran Bazar Bridge was signed on March 11, 2010. On March 11, 2011, the bridge was declared toll-free as per the request of local people's representatives, people of Chandpur, transport owners and workers and residents of Chandpur. The length of the bridge is 260.59 meters.
An official of the Roads and Highways Department said a national toll collection committee was formed with several ministries in the country. According to the decision of that committee, a national toll collection policy has been formulated in 2014 for the collection of revenue from bridges across the country.
According to the national policy, toll of bridges up to 199 meters in length is not eligible in all districts of the country. In the above cases, the concerned department of the government will be considered to be able to collect revenue. According to the National Toll Collection Policy, Matlab Bridge in Chandpur and two bridges in Chandpur-Raipur are also able to collect toll.
Replying to a question, he said, “The other two major bridges in Chandpur, Puran Bazar-Chadpur and Hajiganj-Ramganj bridges, have been declared toll-free even before the 2014 toll collection policy." So even under this policy it is not possible to collect toll.”
Asked whether the bridges could come under toll in the near future, he said, "The national policy was adopted in 2014 at an inter-ministerial meeting."
The National Toll Collection Policy 2014 has been formed with the senior officials of several ministries.