Even as the ‘two-day check’ at Khed Shivapur toll plaza by the district administration came as a welcome relief for commuters, the district collector has issued directives to continue deploying more staff and ensure smooth operations at the toll plaza that will see vehicles cleared in less than three minutes. The collector has given special powers to the Sub Divisional Officer of Bhor to conduct random checks at the toll plaza till January 9 and reports would be sought for each check.
After being at the toll plaza for two days on December 5 and 6, the district administration has given a detailed report to the collector highlighting how lane rules are not followed, absence of separate lanes for local traffic and absence of CCTV footage backup, among other issues.
With National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) officials well aware of the drive, they had deployed enough staff at the toll plaza, thus ensuring that vehicles pass through within 10-15 seconds. “There needs to be random checks to ensure the efficacy of operations and that will be conducted for the coming month,’’ District Collector Saurabh Rao said on Tuesday, after receiving the report from his team.
Issues such as lack of clean toilets, several potholes on the left lane of the toll plaza, vehicles not following rules, no provisions to register complaints with the control room and no backup of the CCTV footage available at the control room were some of the issues pointed out by revenue officials in the report. The report also highlighted obstacles in some of the lanes and commuters were also vocal about some of the lanes being closed on some days, officials said in the report.
With the Indian Road Congress stating the norm of 240 vehicles passing through the toll plaza within an hour, revenue officials found that there were nearly 150-260 vehicles which passed through any given hour. With officials well aware of the drive, they were readying the tickets much ahead in advance while there were separate staff reaching out to vehicles and issuing them tickets to save time.
The time limit for each vehicle as stated in the report was 10-15 seconds with extra staff, but what needs to be checked is whether this would be maintained, said the collector. Revenue officials also pointed out that Bhor revenue officials, who have to frequent the toll plaza, has often found that all the lanes are not opened and with less people, the toll plaza is not managed well.
The administration also pointed out that the public announcement system and vendors at these toll plazas only cause chaos and there are illegal constructions of small shanties which only create issues. The administration had formed a committee to monitor the toll booth at Khed Shivapur on NH-4 after several complaints of long queues with vehicles stranded for nearly 30-40 minutes were reported.
The district administration has decided to act tough so that these toll collecting agencies strictly implement the waiting period of three minutes. The team comprising revenue officials, police, NHAI officials and officials of Reliance (the operating agency), were present at the toll plaza at the weekend at peak hours in the morning and evening to check for the timing and operations of the naka.