Updated: December 15, 2021 8:22:45 pm
With farmers calling off their agitation, several toll plazas have become functional in Haryana but with increased charges. The officials of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) claim the hike is nominal and is linked with Wholesale Price Index (WPI).
The manager at Shambhu toll plaza on Haryana-Punjab border, Arvind Chauhan told The Indian Express that there was no increase in rates for car, jeep, van and LCV vehicles. “Increase in the charges for other vehicles such buses and trucks is as per the norms of NHAI. These charges were scheduled to be increased from September but the same could not be done because plaza was not functioning due to farmers’ agitation,” Chauhan said.
He said the plaza has become functional after a year and they are facing occasional technical snags in operations. “It will take a week in smooth functioning of the toll plaza.”
At Bastara toll plaza (Karnal) on Ambala-Delhi highway, there is no hike in charges for four-wheeler for one side travel. But the one-time up-down rate has been increased from Rs 185 to Rs 190. A source familiar with the development said: “Now, the monthly pass charges for these vehicles will cost Rs 3,810 as against earlier Rs 3,760. For buses and trucks, there is an increase of Rs 5 per visit. MAV double excel vehicles charges have been increased from Rs 705 to Rs 715.”
Explaining the mathematics of toll charges, a senior NHAI officer said: “A three per cent annual increase has been effected. It’s not that we are trying to compensate the losses, which were caused due to the agitation. However, for convenience of the commuters and toll operators, we fix the charges in straight numbers. Like if after revision of rates, it comes at Rs 57, then it will be fixed at Rs 55. But if it comes at Rs 58, then the rate will be fixed at Rs 60. Toll charges are increased as per a notification issued for the entire country.”
The officer further said: “There are two types of plazas — Built-Operate-Transfer (BOT) plazas like on Ambala-Chandigarh national highway and second, which are given to the private operators by the NHAI for 2-3 months after bidding process. In the category of BOT toll plazas, the period of operation in lieu of the agitation stand extended automatically, so the operators concerned won’t face any losses.”
The officer also said that in Punjab, the toll charges will be increased at 2-3 toll plazas following further construction of the road concerned. “Like, there will be toll hike on Kharar-Ludhiana road after construction of Chandigarh-Kharar road leading to increase in the length concerned,” the officer said.
Two days back, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had said the toll plazas which were closed due to the stir would be functional soon adding there will be no increase in the toll charges. Most of the toll plazas in the state were non-functional for the past nearly one year due to ongoing farmers agitation as the farmers were camping at the toll booths.
Meanwhile, a large number of farmers gathered at Khatkar toll plaza on Jind-Patiala highway near Jind Tuesday to celebrate their victory over the issue of three farm laws. Later, they lifted their dharna from the toll plaza.
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