In March 2010, a group of Noida residents assembled at the Delhi Noida Direct (DND) Flyway demanding that the decision to increase toll from Rs 25 to Rs 28 be withdrawn. Led by the Federation of Noida Residents Welfare Associations (FONRWA), the protest saw the toll fee being cut back, but the years that followed saw numerous protesters blocking traffic on DND Flyway, demanding lifting of toll.
“Between 2010 and 2012, we held four such protests. Soon, we realised that the matter will not be resolved by taking to the streets. We approached the Allahabad High Court in November 2012,” said FONRWA president N P Singh. Around 70 hearings on the matter took place in the Allahabad HC before it ordered that the concessionaire was no longer entitled to charge toll since it had “recovered all reasonable returns” from the bridge.
According to Singh, the Allahabad HC order has come as a Diwali gift for residents of Noida and Delhi. “This was a fight in the interest of the people. This victory is also theirs. Public money was being spent as toll,” said Singh.
As the demand for DND Flyway being made toll-free grew, the issue was taken up by various organisations and political parties. In August this year, BJP leader and Janhit Morcha founder Nawab Singh Nagar and his associates took over toll booths at DND, “opening” the expressway to commuters for nearly 30 hours.