FLOODED WITH complaints from commuters over long queues and stranded vehicles at the Khed Shivapur toll booth on National Highway 4, a team of Revenue Officials inspected the toll on Saturday and Sunday, only to find that with “strict monitoring” the traffic can be easily streamlined —with each vehicle passing through the toll plaza in exactly three minutes.
A fact-finding team comprising revenue officials, police and NHAI officials were keeping a check on the timings and operations of the toll plaza at Pune’s Khed Shivapur toll plaza and a similar drive was held at Satara’s Aanewadi toll plaza too.
The district administration had decided to act tough so that the toll collecting agencies strictly implement the waiting period of three minutes, besides the 10 seconds to pay the toll, collect the receipt and drive on. “We will ensure that this becomes the standard procedure. We will be collating the data obtained on Saturday and Sunday, and instructions will be given to the NHAI officials and toll plaza to follow the three-minute time strictly along with other recommendations,’’ said District Collector Saurabh Rao.
Rao had earlier warned that if the toll plaza officials are found to be not following the norms, then stringent action would be taken against them. It would become imperative for them to not charge the passenger if they did not adhere to the norms, he had said. The team held the inspection during weekends as there is major rush during that time. ‘With the weekend seeing many commuters returning from Mahabaleshwar, we decided to hold the drive at both the toll plazas on these days,’’ he said.
The district administration will follow this drive with frequent and random checks to ensure that norms are being followed, said the collector. Rao said, his team had given him a positive feedback for the weekend that the toll plaza had pumped in more staff and overall operations have been smooth. “If they can maintain this momentum to streamline traffic, we will not get complaints,’’ he said. He said that the team will give all the details on the time taken by each vehicle and the overall management of the toll plaza to the NHAI and it will be made a standard operating procedure for both Pune and Satara toll plazas.
Meanwhile, SDO Bhor, Maushmi Barde, who was present for the drive, said that the operations were very smooth and there was no rush at the toll plaza. “With the toll plaza authorities putting in more staff and reaching out to commuters, there was hardly any queues. However, there were some issues regarding people not following the designated lanes, which we will point out in our report,’’ she said. The team monitored the density of vehicular movement, the routine and the exact time duration taken by each vehicle while crossing the toll booth, especially during peak hours. The district administration wanted the NHAI to follow the rules set by the Indian Road Congress (IRC). According to the IRC guideline, 240 vehicles should cross the toll plaza within an hour’s time.