October 29, 2013
Abhinav Garg & Dipak K Dash, TNN |
“The operator is receiving money but not accounting (it). We found that the handheld devices with which they collect toll during peak hours are not connected to the main server for escrow accounts. Same is the case with extra toll booths they set up. This money was not accounted for,” senior advocate Sandeep Sethi, representing NHAI, claimed before Justice Manmohan Singh.
Sethi said once the survey findings were filed in HC and a show cause notice on underreporting of traffic issued to the private operator,Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Ltd (DGSCL), “our revenue for September, collected in October, increased by Rs 60 lakh.”
The KPMG survey, which has been refuted by DGSCL, had claimed underreporting of vehicles causing a daily revenue leakage to the tune of Rs 15.58 lakh during August 2012 and July 2013.
When Justice Singh asked if the authority was open to “finding a cure” to the dispute if, for arguments sake, the operator was willing to refund the amount allegedly siphoned, Sethi replied in the negative. “All that is now history. We can’t repose our faith in the operator. We have learnt from our mistakes,” the counsel said, making it clear that NHAI was not interested in a settlement with the firm.
On being further prodded by the court, the counsel claimed despite interventions by various authorities, commuters continue to suffer as DGSCL has not implemented reforms nor is it trying to improve traffic flow. Answering the court’s apprehension on the future of the toll plaza if it sanctions termination of the contract, NHAI indicated it will operate it till it finds a suitable replacement. The court will hear DGSCL’s defence on Friday.
“We have strongly refuted the KPMG survey findings and would take this up in the court as well in the next hearing,” the DGSCL spokesperson said. “The survey was done manually which is prone to human error and did not employ scientific and automated vehicle classification and counting (AVCC) system as stipulated in the concession agreement and neither did it correctly account for exemptions and run-throughs of traffic.”
Regarding the variation of toll revenues across months, the spokesperson said traffic volumes and revenues in the festive months of September and October were always higher than the holiday and monsoon months of July and August.
October 29, 2013
Aneesha Mathur : New Delhi,
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on Monday informed the Delhi High Court that the concessionaire of the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway had misrepresented the revenue collection from the toll booths.
“My fingers have been burned,” Senior Advocate Sandeep Sethi, who is representing NHAI, said, while telling the court that his client had asked KPMG in July to carry out an independent verification of the daily traffic and toll booth collections, after “developing apprehensions that the concessionaire was misreporting collections”.
NHAI had issued a showcause notice to the concessionaire, Delhi Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DGSCL), after the auditor had reported inaccuracies in revenue figures.
During arguments, Sethi also alleged that after the showcause notice was issued, NHAI’s share of revenue from the toll booths had risen from Rs 1.22 crore in August to Rs 1.82 crore in September. “The revenue share for the NHAI jumped by 60 lakh,” Sethi said.
The NHAI had filed a criminal complaint against D S Constructions, DGSCL’s parent company, earlier this month, accusing the concessionaire of cheating and causing wrongful loss by under-reporting traffic at the 32-lane toll plaza.
Sethi also argued that despite an agreement between NHAI and D S Constructions, the concessionaire had refused to let NHAI staff man the booths.
Contending that the concessionaire should be “substituted with another eligible entity”, Sethi told the bench of Justice Manmohan Singh, “NHAI, as a receiver of the property, will run the toll business, until the time it identifies, evaluates and finalises a substitute concessionaire.”
The HC was hearing arguments on a plea filed by D S Construction against a notice issued to it by NHAI on December 7, 2012, to terminate the concession agreement which permitted the private company to run both the toll booths and the expressway.
NHAI had also accused concessionaire Delhi Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DGSCL) of fraud, claiming that the company had re-financed the project without NHAI’s approval. The highway authority had also accused DGSCL of failing to improve services at the 32-lane toll plaza.