Nagpur: Bowing to a long standing demand by people, the Maharashtra government on Wednesday decided to abolish the road toll tax posts in the erstwhile royal city of Kolhapur from January 1.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis made the announcement in the assembly here on the last day of the winter session. It was received with loud cheers and desk thumping by members.

The Kolhapur toll tax had been bitterly opposed by people. There were protests, some of which turned violent. Slain Communist leader Govind Pansare had taken part in the protests. The tax was frowned upon even by cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar.

The New Year gift for Kolhapur comes seven months after the government abolished toll tax at 65 toll posts across the state from June 1. The toll tax was being collected by IRB for constructing around 50 km of roads inside the city.

The road construction project for the Kolhapur Municipal Corporation started in 2007 at a cost of Rs 2.2 billion. Later, the cost escalated to over Rs 5 billion, and IRB was allowed to collect the toll for 30 years.

People complained that IRB’s work was not upto the mark and asked why Kolhapur was the only city where toll was levied for internal roads unlike other cities where toll was levied only at entry-exit points.

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