After protests against the nearly four-fold hike in toll rates at Sadahalli gate on National Highway 7 that leads to the international airport, commuters are now complaining of traffic snarls at the toll plaza during peak hours.
The Kempegowda International Airport records maximum traffic between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. and between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. Adding to traffic chaos, the toll operators collect the fee at only 10 of the 14 gates at the plaza. The remaining lanes are being used by people living in the surrounding areas.
“It usually takes at least 15 minutes to pass the toll gate during the peak hour,” said Papanna, president of Bangalore International Airport Taxi Owners and Drivers Association. A senior Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation official said that buses were stuck at the toll plaza for nearly 20 minutes during peak hour.The BMTC tried but failed to get a separate lane for public, the official said.
Traffic expert M.N. Srihari said that an estimated 30,000 vehicles ply on the road during rush hour. The toll plaza was not equipped to handle the traffic, he said.
Surendra Kumar, project director, NHAI, Bangalore, told The Hindu that there were only two automated toll-collection lanes whose capacity is 1,200 vehicles per hour. However, the rest of the lanes are manual with a capacity to handle only 240 vehicles per hour.
Over 90,000 vehicles use the stretch connecting Tambaram and Tindivanam.
Preparatory work has commenced for the six-laning of a 93-km stretch on the Chennai-Tiruchi highway (NH45) from Tambaram to Tindivanam.
According to sources in the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), the consultant has begun preparing the land plan schedule that identifies government and private lands. The consultant is also drawing up the estimate for shifting of utilities along the road that is used by over 90,000 vehicles a day.
The process including enumeration of trees along the road will take two years. “Since the concessionaire has a contract to build, operate and transfer the road for a period of 17.5 years, which is till November 2019, the NHAI will take a call as to when the work can be taken up,” explained an official. Work to widen the road into a four-lane facility began in May 2002 and was completed in October 2004 when tolling began.
A decision will also be taken regarding widening of the urban stretches upto Tambaram. “We have to take into consideration various factors including the Chennai Outer Ring Road that takes off from Vandalur, the railway track running on one side of the road and the densely populated urban stretch. Land acquisition will be a major issue in these areas,” he said.
R. Samban, who recently travelled by the NH45 to Tiruchi, said that the lighting could be improved on some stretches. “Some of the curves are quite sharp. During the widening, care must be taken to improve visibility at these points. The NHAI must also ensure that trees along the road are not cut but transplanted,” he said.
Santosh Sonawane, TNN |
NASHIK: Journey to Chandwad and up north on the on the Mumbai-Agra national highway is set to become costlier, with a revision in the toll fees at the Chandwad toll plaza coming into effect from July 1.
M/s Ircon Soma Tollway Pvt Ltd, in a concession agreement with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for the development, operation and maintenance of the 118-km section of NH3 from Pimpalgaon to Dhule on a build-operate-and-transfer (BOT) basis, has raised the toll fee marginally.
The toll fee for cars, passenger vans or jeeps has been increased to Rs 120 from Rs 115, for light commercial vehicle (LCV) to Rs 215 from Rs 200, for trucks and buses to Rs 425 from Rs 400 and for multi-axle vehicles, to Rs 685 from Rs 645.
Defence vehicles, including those eligible for exemption in accordance with provisions of the Indian Toll Act, police vehicles, fire-fighting vehicles, ambulances, hearses, vehicles of the post and telegraph department, central and state government vehicles on duty and vehicles with VIP symbols have been exempted from the toll.
While the rise in the toll fee is marginal, it could still prove to be pocket pinch for motorists who travel frequently between Nashik and Chandwad or Malegaon, Dhule. Many commuters from Nashik are up in arms against the NHAI over the toll collected at Pimpalgaon and Chandwad.
Taking into account the stiff opposition over the revision in toll collection at the Pimpalgaon toll plaza, the district collector had convened a meeting with NHAI officials last month, wherein it was suggested that vehicles registered in Nashik and Malegaon (MH 15 and MH 41) be exempted from the revised toll, until a meeting with senior officials of NHAI was held.
A vehicle-owner from Nashik with a car registered with some other RTO than Nashik and Malegaon will have to pay Rs 140 to cross the Pimpalgaon toll plaza and again Rs 120 at the Chandwad toll plaza, if he proceeds from Nashik to Chandwad or Malegaon. Officials of the Chandwad toll plaza said that there was no facility of a return toll fee – replete with the general 50 per cent discount on the return journey over a scheduled period – at Chandwad, and hence, motorists will have to pay full toll on a return trip as well.
“We are waiting for the meeting of district collector Vilas Patil with senior officials of NHAI over the toll collection at Pimpalgaon toll plaza before taking a stand on the toll collection at Ghoti, Pimpalgaon and Chandwad toll plazas,” said Anju Singhal, president of the Nashik Transport Association. Singhal said that according to NHAI guidelines, the distance between two toll plazas should not be less than 60 km. The distance between the Pimpalgaon and Chandwad toll plaza is only 35 km.
Dipak Kumar Dash TNN
New Delhi: Now road users can check whether a toll plaza is operating legally and how much they should pay at each toll plaza. National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has launched a portal a mobile-based application that will help commuters locate all toll plazas on a stretch and charges payable for each category of vehicle – car, jeep, truck or bus.
Suppose one plans to travel between Delhi and Mumbai, he just needs to enter names of the origin and destination to get details of all toll plazas.
A government official said the website – www.nhaitis.org – is already functional and information related to 255 toll plazas has been uploaded in the system. Details of other 30 plazas will be uploaded in the next two weeks, sources said.
“Commuters can also access updated information about concessions available for local and frequent users on any toll plaza so that the toll operators can’t fleece them. They can get details of the facilities available near a toll plaza, contact numbers for emergency services, local police station and nearest hospital,” said an official.
To make the information accessible while on the move, the highway authority said that people can also get all these details simply by sending an SMS. All that they need is to download an application (app) on their android smartphones. The app will provide details of all toll plazas within 100 km range.
Overcharging, misbehaviour by toll operators and long wait at toll plazas are some of the major irritants for road-users. Moreover, though it’s mandatory that a big hoarding at every plaza must display the applicable toll charges for each type of vehicle, private developers often fail to put them up. The new IT initiative is likely to address these concerns.
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.
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