No peak-hour toll for 4 days until next hearing on Oct 3,concessionaire and NHAI trade charges
Private vehicles will have not to pay toll during peak hours 8.30 am to 10 am and 5.30 pm to 7 pm on the Gurgaon-Delhi Expressway for the next four days.
Partially lifting the stay on toll collection,the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday allowed the expressway operator to collect toll during non-rush hours for the next four days until the next hearing on October 3.
A division bench,headed by Justice S K Mittal,refused to vacate the stay even as concessionaire Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DGSCL) claimed that several decisions and measures have been taken to ease the chaos on the expressway.
Showing little interest in the long-term measures that the concessionaire claimed to have taken,the bench said: You take decisions 100 times. What immediate steps are you taking to bring relief to commuters?
The bench said the DGSCL should show interim measures rather than permanent solutions for the future.
The court saw heated argument between the counsels representing DGSCL and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
NHAI counsel Alok Jain objected to allowing toll collection without integrating hand-held devices with the main server through GPS. He argued that this could lead to toll pilferage.
Hand-held devices are one of the measures taken in some the lanes at the Sirhaul toll plaza to reduce waiting time for vehicles.
DGSCL counsel M L Sarin said,The NHAIs stand is astonishing. The NHAI seems to be hand in glove with someone. Toll collection is a matter of life and death for us (the concessionaire).
The bench said it was only interested in public interest and not commercial gains of parties.
The bench told the NHAI to depute an official to check if there was any toll pilferage. Reacting to the courts decision,the DGSCL said toll collection from private vehicles would begin at the KM 24 plaza from 7 pm on Friday.
We will set up several configurations for toll collection as approved by the court, a spokesperson of the DGSCL said.
An additional 21 toll lanes will be added. This is expected to significantly reduce the burden on the existing lanes, the spokesperson said.
Inputs from Tuhin Dutta