TIRUPATI: The toll fee collected at the Alipiri toll gate in Tirupati — the gateway to the hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara — has been substantially raised by the state government on Friday, on the basis of a recommendation from the TTD trust board.
The revised rates are: All LCV/LMVs including taxis: uniform toll of Rs 50 from the existing fee of Rs 15, Rs 30, Rs 25 and Rs 60 based on classifications of vehicles and seating capacity. LCV two-axle, mini buses, lorries and goods vehicles will be charged Rs 100 as against the existing fee of Rs 50 and Rs 60, while lorries, JCBs and other heavy goods container vehicles Rs 200 as against the existing fee of Rs 100. All two-wheelers were exempted from payment of toll fee.
The TTD had, in February last year, sent a letter to the government seeking its approval for classification of vehicles at Alipiri tollgate as per National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) regulations and fix the fee accordingly. It had also proposed complete exemption of toll for two-wheelers.
The TTD has been operating two ghat roads between Tirumala and Tirupati and collecting toll fees as per rates approved by the state government in September 1996. In pre-Covid times, about 8,000-10,000 vehicles passed through this toll plaza on normal days and 12,000 vehicles on special occasions and weekends.
The TTD has been netting a revenue of Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh on an average a day in the form of toll collections. Around 35.33 lakh vehicles have passed through this toll plaza in 2019 and a toll fee of Rs 7.47 crore was collected, sources said.
The temple body had proposed to enhance the toll in December 2000 through a resolution 656, but TTD could not implement the revised rates. After a gap of many years, the TTD trust board, in February last year, again proposed to enhance the toll fee through resolution 300 and sent a letter to the government seeking its nod for the new rates.
In August last year, the special chief secretary to the government, revenue, suggested to the TTD board to further enhance the tariff for four-wheelers in a bid to reduce the congestion and pollution atop Tirumala. The TTD trust board, in its second round of discussions on this subject, however, felt that its earlier decision was good enough and saw no reason to enhance tariff on four-wheelers and conveyed the same to the government.
In December last, TTD executive officer again sent a letter to the government, seeking its approval for the first proposal. In response, the principal secretary to government, Revenue, passed GO 45 on Friday, approving the TTD resolution to enhance the toll fee and give complete exemption to two-wheelers.