No toll on Gurgaon expressway for next 15 days: High Court

The direction comes into force from Tuesday midnight.

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published: September 5, 2012 1:19 am

Annoyed over the increasing chaos on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway and the “failure” of the concessionaire to provide relief to motorists,the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday stayed the collection of toll tax on the expressway for 15 days.

The direction comes into force from Tuesday midnight. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has been directed to convene a meeting within 15 days with the Haryana police and the concessionaire to find a solution to the chaos on the expressway.

On August 16,the court had asked the company to place additional collection booths and deploy more personnel with hand-held collection machines to streamline traffic movement.

When this was not complied with,the court had warned it would suspend collection of taxes. It had directed the Gurgaon traffic police to file a status report on the steps taken by the company in this regard. The directions were passed by a division bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Jasbir Singh during the resumed hearing of a petition filed by Delhi Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DGSCL).

In its petition,DGSCL had sought directions to the government to restrain the “police from opening boom barriers illegally and forcibly,allowing vehicles to pass without paying toll”.

In a report submitted to the court,the counsel for Haryana police said the concessionaire alone was responsible for the chaos on the expressway. The counsel said the concessionaire does not have the required staff to deal with the traffic volume,which was leading to snarls. Meanwhile,the counsel for the concessionaire told the court that the addition of more kiosks had significantly reduced the chaos on the stretch. On Monday,DGSCL had filed an affidavit claiming that adequate steps have been taken to ensure smooth flow of traffic.

The affidavit stated: “…the concessionaire intends reducing the number of trips valid for 30 days from the present 60 to 40 so as to enable more local commuters to become eligible for discount. This will also increase the number of commuters using e-tags and touch cards,thus reducing the number of vehicles which pay in cash and will result in faster clearance at the toll plazas”.

The court had earlier observed that the toll barrier was designed to save both fuel and time. But neither fuel nor time was being saved and the long queues of vehicles on either side of the road had become a common sight.

Reacting to the Punjab and Haryana High Court decision,a DGSCL spokesperson said that it respects the decision and would hold discussions with the NHAI and the administration to come up with a long-term solution.

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