Express News Service | New Delhi
The move has certainly brought huge relief to the daily commuters between Delhi and Gurgaon. (Photo: Reuters)
It was a pleasant ride for the office goers in the national capital region as the Gurgaon toll plaza was removed late Wednesday night. The toll plaza at the Delhi border was removed following an order of the Delhi High Court.
While the removal of toll plaza at the Delhi-Gurgaon border has made the movement for those commuting to and from Gurgaon free of traffic snarls and brought a mild relief to their pockets, those travelling beyond Gurgaon towards Manesar and Jaipur will now have to shed more.
The toll rate at the Kherki Dhaula toll has been almost doubled – from Rs 27 to Rs 56.
The High Court decision resolved a two-year-long dispute between the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), project financier IDFC and toll operator Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Ltd (DGSCL).
Justice Manmohan Singh in his order approved the consent agreement, under which the IDFC has agreed to pay a sum of Rs 24.65 crore to DGSCL. It was submitted in court that it has already issued demand drafts to the tune of Rs 8.85 crore to DGSCL. The affidavit also said the IDFC was bound to pay the remaining amount — Rs 15.8 crore — by way of demand draft before February 28, 2014.
The notification states that there will be no extra burden on the users between Delhi-Jaipur. Between Manesar and Gurgaon, users may avail discounts available to local traffic by taking a pass for 30 days.
The decision on whether to dismantle the toll plaza at 61KM has not yet been taken, with parties stating in the affidavit that it was up to the Roadways ministry to consider the issue.
Under the agreement, the NHAI has also offered to keep four lanes on the left for the South Municipal Corporation to collect tax from commercial vehicles entering Delhi.
The South corporation has raised certain objections to the arrangement, arguing that it would not be possible to collect the tax as there would be no mechanism to ensure that commercial vehicles keep to the dedicated toll lanes.
The court will now hear the plea filed by South corporation and toll collection agent SMS AAMW Tollways on Thursday.
And the move has certainly brought huge relief to the daily commuters between Delhi and Gurgaon.
By The New Indian Express
The entire road toll collection machinery is in need of urgent revamp nationally to improve user experience, cut down on delays and nip in the bud its needless politicisation, even occasional vandalism causing destruction of public property. The whole process has to be expedited and streamlined with comprehensive electronic tolling, complete with conducive driving conditions, including strict enforcement of safety measures, routine highway maintenance and regular patrolling.
The public-private partnerships in highway projects must be policy induced to improve not just road conditions, but also safety given that India now has the dubious distinction of leading in road accidents and fatalities. We need modest, reasonable toll charges for all, irrespective of political and official status to discourage those who like to throw their weight around. Strict and prompt punishment should be meted out to those who do so.
Electronic tolling of vehicles should be spread nationwide in a time-bound manner. Machine-readable, chip-embedded cards need to be made available, and they must be easy to purchase, valid pan-India and capable of remote recharge. If such measures are taken, travelling by road will become a pleasure instead of being an undertaking fraught with danger because of bad roads, reckless driving and the presence of hoodlums who wait for an opportunity to pounce on a traveller who may have lost his way or because his vehicle is giving trouble. As a result, middle class families travelling with women and children generally prefer trains and even planes. In addition to the modernisation of toll booths, more food courts and motels, set in the midst of greenery, are the need of the hour for both domestic and foreign tourists. Given the beauty of the Indian landscape, travellers are bound to hit the roads again if such steps are taken.
TNN[ Dipak Kumar Dash ]
( Overloading is one of the major causes of road accidentsand fatalities)
NEW DELHI: Truckers carrying goods beyond the permitted load will end up paying 10 times higher toll charges, as per the new norms notified by the government as part of amendment in toll rules for national highways in the country.The notification issued after the Cabinet nod also says vehicles must not be allowed to cross toll plazas unless the driver or owner offloads the extra weight at his own risk and cost. Earlier, rules allowed an overloaded vehicle to pass toll plazas by paying the toll charge specified for the next higher category vehicle.This meant in case a three-axle vehicle was found overloaded, it could pass the toll plaza after paying the charge for a four-axle vehicle. “This penalty was too little. Though the rule also included offloading of extra load, there was hardly any impact. Now, private road developers will have an interest checking overloading as they will get substantial extra revenue,” said an official.
Overloading is one of the major causes of road accidents and fatalities. In 2012, overloading and overcrowding caused almost one lakh accidents and claimed 30,500 lives on Indian roads.
Moreover, a Central Road Research Institute study had shown that with 10% overloading above the permissible limit, the life of roads got reduced by 35% and with 30% overloading, it got reduced by about 65%.
International experts have been pushing for reforms in rules and regulations to make travel safer on Indian roads. Pushing for such reforms, India head of World Health Organization Nata Menabde said last week, “If India can save its children from polio, we are sure that we can save those children than dying on roads later.”
She had said that across the world, road accident was the biggest killer of young population in the age group of 15-29 years.
Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA
IRB Infrastructure Ltd has emerged as the preferred bidder for Rs 1,500 crore highway development contract for four-laning of the 98.7 km stretch between Solapur and Yedeshi in Maharashtra from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
A senior NHAI official said, “With the drying up of appetite for the toll-based projects in the last one year, the government had skewed its contract awards towards normal engineering, procurement construction (EPC) basis. Projects like this give an opportunity for asset development in addition to the growth in size for developers.”
The toll project, coming after a gap of almost a year, will be developed on a design build finance operate and transfer model by IRB.
IRB has sought a viability gap funding (VGF) of Rs 189 crore — about 12% of the capital cost of the project — from the NHAI.
In the toll model of the highway funding, the government offers VGF, or upfront grant, to developers, capped at 40% of the project cost. The developer raises the remaining amount in a 60:40 debt equity ratio.
IRB plans to develop the Solapur-Yedeshi section in 910 days. The concession period for this project is 29 years, which means IRB will retain the right on toll revenues from the project for 29 years before transferring the asset to the government.
This project will add up to the companies’ present construction order book of Rs 5,050 crore, which is to be executed in the next two to three years.
The company has 18 toll projects, of which 16 are operational.
Workers of different political parties on Thursday blockaded the toll booths on the Bangalore-Mangalore national highway at Panemangalore and the newly opened toll booth at Brahmarakootlu, terming it unfair that both booths were collecting toll within a stretch of four kilometres.
Members of Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) gathered outside the Brahmarakootlu toll booth, and prevented operators from collecting toll from vehicles moving on the stretch. The booth had become operational from Wednesday.
“A lot of highway work is pending. The service roads needs to be done up, there is a flyover necessary at Brahmarakootlu. Moreover, what is the need to collect money from motorists from two points so close on the highway?” asked SDPI district secretary Akbar Ali.
The organisation has demanded that persons in the vicinity of the toll booth be exempted from paying toll, and that the toll be lowered to a ‘reasonable’ level.
For more than two hours, collection of toll was suspended at Brahmarakootlu.
Meanwhile, members of the BJP, led by former president of Dakshina Kannada unit of the BJP, K. Padmanabha Kottari picketed the toll booth at Panemangalore. Activists threw aside barricades and ensured that toll was not collected for most of the day.
Stanley Pinto,TNN |
MANGALORE: The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) stopped toll collection at the Panemangalore Nethravathi toll booth temporarily on Thursday following protests by BJP, Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and other organizations.
Residents of Bantwal Taluk had warned NHAI that they will carry out protests if they open a road toll booth at Brahmarakootlu without closing the Panemangalore bridge toll plaza.
Earlier, NHAI had notified that toll collection would commence at Brahmarakootlu on Mangalore – Bangalore National Highway on Thursday.
The BJP took the lead to organize the protest with former MLA Padmanabha Kottari, Rukmayya Poojari, former ZP member Thungappa Bangera and others blocking traffic at Panemangalore toll booth. NHAI officials, who arrived at the spot, held discussions with the BJP leaders and assured them that the uncertainty over the two toll booths will be cleared in three days and they will bring the matter to the notice of their higher ups.
Though some party workers started dismantling the toll booth, the leaders managed to pacify them.
Meanwhile, SDPI members carried out a protest asking NHAI to suspend toll collection till all work pertaining to NH is completed.
The new toll booth at Brahmarakootlu caused traffic jams as the approach road to the toll plaza was narrow. The Brahmarakootlu toll collection, which was stopped due to public protests, resumed after they were given police protection.
A few days ago, the issue was raised at a meeting called by MP Nalin Kumar Kateel with NHAI officials. Social activist Govinda Prabhu had said that Panemangalore bridge toll collection should be stopped as the new toll booth is just five km away from it.
At the meeting the villagers had pointed out that NHAI cannot operate two toll booths within a stretch of 60 km. However, NHAI project director Shriram Mishra had clarified that the restriction on toll gates is separate for roads and bridges.
MANGALORE: Travel to BC Road from Mangalore is set to get costlier. The National Highways Authority of India has decided to collect user fee on the 18.60 km National Highway Road from December 5 midnight. This will mean that travel- either by bus or own vehicle, barring two wheelers – will become costlier.
While it is Rs 20 for four-wheelers for single journey, it will be Rs 60 for buses. For the return journey within a day, it will be Rs 25 for four-wheelers, barring light commercial vehicles, and Rs 90 for buses. A gazette notification regarding this has already been issued.KSRTC Mangalore division traffic officer said that the corporation will hike the rates on the route. We will inform the central office and take a call. The maximum for ordinary buses will be Re 1 and Rs 2 to Rs 3 for Airavat buses,” the official said.NHAI gives a concession for buses in the form of a monthly pass for 50 single journeys at Rs 1,975. Four-wheelers have to pay Rs 585 for the passes. However, KSRTC officials said that their frequency is much more than that, especially for ordinary buses on Dharmasthala, Puttur, Sullia and BC Road routes.In anticipation of the hike, NHAI has deployed an agency to repair bad stretches and sand accumulated near the dividers on the road. The work on repairing the bad stretches, which got under way on Saturday will be completed in a fortnight,” said NHAI project director Shriram Mishra.Though the 37 km Surathkal-BC Road was constructed by an agency- Ircon International Limited – the toll collection and maintenance of the stretch will be carried out by different agencies. The toll booths have already been erected near Brahmarakootlu.
AHMEDABAD: Gujarat high court on Thursday sought reply from the state authorities concerned over a PIL questioning legality of collection of road tax at toll booths on the national as well as state highways across the state.Advocate K G Pandit has challenged the collection of road tax on all toll plazas on highways on the ground that the tax is collected by agencies authorized by the state government, but due permission for the same has not been obtained from the Centre. A notification issued in 1989 mandates the state government to get a nod from the Union government to authorize any agency to collect tax on roads. “Since no permission for the same has been obtained, the road tax collection going on across the state is illegal and it should be stopped straightaway,” the lawyer has argued.
After preliminary arguments, the court issued notice to the authorities concerned and kept further hearing three weeks later, advocate Pandit said.
Bharuch: The support for citizens’ movement to abolish the toll tax from Zadeshwar toll plaza on national highway 8 near Bharuch is swelling.
On the second day of agitation, large number of people pledged support to the demand to remove toll tax that is causing long and frustrating traffic snarls on the highway.
Voluntary organizations like Lions Club of Bharuch, Rotary Club of Bharuch and Ankleshwar, Stree Niketan and Stree Mandal, JCI Ankleshwar, Ankleshwar, Panoli and Jhagadia Industries Association, Mahavir International and others have joined the movement.
The people shouted slogans to remove the toll tax for an ease traffic movement.
Kamlesh Udani, convener of Bharuch Citizen Council said, “We have given our represenations to Ahmed Patel and asked him to intervene in the matter. We are hopeful of some positive result.”
Bharuch MLA Dushyant Patel also talked to minister for roads and buildings Anandiben Patel and appraised her about traffic situation.
Congress spokesman Nazu Fadwala said, “Ahmedbhai personally met Prime Minister and the result will come out soon in the interest of people.”
Harish Joshi, TNN |
Bharuch: The frustration over daily traffic jams on national highway (NH-8) near Bharuch has once again spilled over on the streets.
On Monday, large number of people gathered at Zadeshwar toll tax plaza demanding abolishing the tax with immediate affect. They said that the tax collection is badly affecting the traffic movement.
Bharuch MLA Dushyant Patel, who is lead the agitation, asked the toll tax contractor to stop collecting tax till new bridge is constructed on Narmada. Daily commuters and people gathered to protest peacefully. The computer and other accessories from toll counters were removed by the contractor and informed National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) officials about demand of people.
Several NGOs under the banner of Bharuch Citizen Council also joined movement.
“Large number travelers get stranded on the highway for for hours in massive traffic jam due to toll tax plaza near Zadeshwar. The tax collection period was over in December 2012 and only one track is operational as old Sardar Bridge declared as non operational. Despite there being no need of tax collection, the time limit was extended till March 2014. The toll plaza itself is big obstacle in traffic movement hence it is in the interest of people to remove the same and stop tolll collection,” he said. N K Patel of Bharuch Citizens Council said, “NHAI officials and politicians are not sensitive enough about this burning issue. They don’t care for the people suffering in traffic and this has led to a movement to remove toll tax.”
Irrespective of political parties, we are going to ask for a time-bound program of construction of damaged bridges near Golden Bridge and Sardar bridge.”
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