Thumbs up from commuters, toll collection on

October 21, 2013

Abhijeet Patil, TNN 


KOLHAPUR: Though some commuters responded to the appeal fromthe Kolhapur Anti-Toll Committee (KATC) at Phulewadi toll plaza and refused to pay the tax to the IRB Company, the majority chose to pay the levy at other eight plazas while entering the city.The KATC on Friday evening changed its agenda and called for civil disobedience to avoid the arrests of its activists. The KATC decided to put up boards at 200 metres from all the nine toll collection plazas appealing to the commuters not to pay toll.

The first of those banners came up on Saturday evening about 100 metres from the Phulewadi toll booth as per the directions from the district police. The banner reads ‘The vehicle owners should refuse to pay the toll and if the collectors force to pay the toll then the vehicle owners should contact the police officials.’

Vasant Deshmane from the Karvir taluka had a smile on his face after he refused to pay the toll at Phulewadi toll plaza. “We are not going to pay the toll for the dirty roads. The city has been turned into a prison by setting up the toll plazas at all the major entrances,” he said.

Like Deshmane, many vehicle owners entering the city were cheered when they registered their protest democratically by not paying the toll. The scene at the toll plaza was dramatic as vehicles owners joined the chorus of “We are not going to pay the toll” after one commuter raised the slogan. The toll collectors also did not force the people to pay the toll.

KATC members said that similar banners will be raised at every toll plaza on Sunday. The leaders of the anti-toll committee were quite enthused with the response their agitation received on Saturday.

“We are protesting democratically. It was believed that the anti-toll movement failed after the toll collection started. However, our message has reached people and they are participating in the movement by refusing to pay the toll,” Nivas Salokhe, KATC convenor, said.

Salokhe further said, “The Bombay high court has given the directives to provide police protection to the toll booths and not for toll collection. However, the IRB Company has started the toll collection despite any orders from the HC. We are going to raise such banners in all parts of the city so that our movement against the toll will bear result without hampering the law and order situation.”

Chandradip Narke, Shivsena MLA from Karvir taluka, appealed to the people to refuse payment of the toll. “The people have participated in the movement by refusing the toll. The police can step up the security at any time but cannot force the people to pay the toll,” said Narke.

Protesters disrupt toll collection across Kolhapur

October 18, 2013



KOLHAPUR: Collection at the nine toll plazas across the city was disrupted on Thursday as members of the Kolhapur Anti-Toll Committee (KATC) staged protests and formed human chains to stop road construction company, Ideal Road Builders (IRB), from taking the charges from road users.The toll collection resumed at two plazas after protesters dispersed in the afternoon but was suspended again after they returned.

In September, the Bombay high court had directed the district police to provide security at the toll plazas. Official sources said around 700 policemen, along with 150 security personnel from the State Reserve Police Force, were deployed at sensitive points in the city and at all the nine toll plazas.

A senior Kolhapur police official said the IRB employees had been instructed by their superiors not to take any action against the protesters during Thursday’s agitations. “Several senior leaders from all political parties participated in the protests and we felt it was not advisable for the IRB staff to collect toll,” he said.

A couple of hundred protesters, most of them from the rural parts of the district, had gathered at the Shiroli toll plaza. Addressing the protesters here, N D Patil, veteran leader and president of the Peasants and Workers Party, said, “The state government has deployed a huge police force to crush this agitation. But we will not be deterred by this. We will not allow the IRB to collect toll.”

The other toll plazas are located at Shiye, Kagal Naka, Sarnobatwadi, Phulewadi, Kalamba, Puikhadi, Uchgaon and R K Nagar.

Chandradip Narke, Shiv Sena MLA from Karvir, led the protest at the Phulewadi toll plaza, which was burnt down during the agitation in May 2013. Around 600 people participated in the protests here.

“People from the rural parts of the district, who commute to the city everyday, have been severely inconvenienced by the toll collection. The poor from the rural areas should not be made to pay toll for roads that are meant for people living in the cities. Despite the issue being raised in the legislative assembly, the state government has kept silent on this issue. Toll has been imposed on Kolhapur due to a nexus between some of the ruling leaders and the IRB,” Narke alleged.

Sadashiv Mandalik, MP, said, “The toll collection process, if allowed, will go on for 30 years according to the agreement. We should try to resist every attempt to collect toll.”

KATC member Baba Indulkar demanded the arrest of the IRB employees, saying they were supporting “illegal work” carried out by the company. “We had filed a criminal complaint against the IRB, which is responsible for the poor quality of roads and for posing a danger to people’s lives. If the police do not arrest them, the public can do so and hand them over to the police. We arrested Vijay Patil, an employee at the Kagal toll plaza, and handed him over to the police inspector of Rajarampuri,” he said.

When several protesters dispersed after 1 pm, the IRB employees started collecting toll at Kagal (from 10 vehicles) and Uchgaon (three vehicles). However, when the protesters got wind of this, they returned to these plazas and the toll collection was discontinued.

Meanwhile, the IRB has issued a public notice, stating that toll collection would be beneficial for the development of the city. The notice states that the company had moved the Bombay HC due to delays in toll collection because of protests by some city-based organizations, who had “spread misconceptions” about the IRB project.

The IRB notice reads: “Toll collection is important since the internal roads of the city will be maintained for the next 30 years through the revenue earned in this process. The HC had given its directive after it studied our stand; we have completed over 95% of the road construction work. The company has submitted a Rs 25-crore bank guarantee with the district collector as a security deposit for completing the remaining 5% of the work.”

Timeline of the agitation

July 2008: Agreement between Kolhapur Municipal Corporation, Ideal Road Builders and Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation to construct 49.99 km of roads in the city at an expense of Rs 220 crore

November 2008: Agitation by social workers on the issue of utility shifting

January 2011: IRB claims completion of construction of the roads

December 2011: State government floats gazetteer allowing IRB to collect toll

January 2012: KATC opposes the state government’s order. Three weeks of mass agitation is followed by the burning down of booths at seven of the nine toll plazas

March 2012: State government constitutes a three-member committee to check the quality of roads built by IRB

December 2012: Chief secretary of state Jayantkumar Banthia allows IRB to collect toll

March 2013: The committee submits its report to the state government

April 2013: KATC opposes the report and gears up for agitation, burning down three toll booths across the city

May 2013: The state government revokes the stay on the proposed toll collection

May 25, 2013: KATC once again launches agitations. Protest at Shiroli toll booth, heavy lathicharge by police administration. Violent mob vandalises three toll booths at Shiroli, Phulewadi, Bawda

July 7, 2013: The anti-toll committee organises a rally against the state government’s decision to revoke the stay on toll

September 26, 2013: The HC directs the district police administration to provide security to IRB for toll collection

October 17, 2013: KATC forms human chain across the city to stop the toll collection

Delhi-Gurgaon project: law dept advises govt against acquiring toll plaza

October 15, 2013

Hitender Rao, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh,



Haryana’s law department has advised the state government against acquiring the toll plaza rights of the Delhi-Gurgaon toll project by invoking political force majeure clause, citing a pending litigation in the Delhi high court and huge financial implications.

Political force majeure means an event involving risks which generally relate to changes in the political environment (embargoes, riots, insurrection, blockade, terrorist actions and war) or legal environment (changes in law or licences, permits and consents necessary for the project).For exploring the option of acquiring the toll plaza by invoking the political force majeure clause, the government had sought advice from the law department. The law department wrote the clause that provides that expropriation of compulsory acquisition of any project assets or rights of the concessionaire could be made by any government agency, including the Haryana government.

“However, the matter involves huge financial implications. Also it is pending adjudication before the HC. If the termination notice issued by the NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) is held legal, the financial liabilities shall be much less than the state invoking political force majeure clause of the agreement. It is suggested that Haryana should support the termination notice and get the matter resolved from the court urgently in public interest. So, under these circumstances, it would not be appropriate to proceed further ignoring the termination notice and stay order passed by Delhi HC,” the law department wrote.


A concession agreement was signed in 2002 between the NHAI and concessionaire Jaypee DSC Ventures Limited (later named Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited) for making the Delhi-Gurgaon section of the national highway-8 into an access controlled highway on built-operate-transfer (BOT) basis for a concession period of 20 years.

A state-support agreement of the project was signed among the concessionaire, NHAI, Haryana and Delhi governments. The project was put to commercial operation in January 2008. Subsequently, problems pertaining to traffic — long queues and logjams — on toll plazas started affecting the commuters.

In March this year, the NHAI had issued a notice of termination of the agreement to the concessionaire on the grounds such as non-fulfillment of various clauses, and non-maintenance of the main accessway and lanes.

Officials said the concessionaire was expected to improve the lanes at Kherki Dhaula toll and integrate the collection system at the main Gurgaon toll plaza. The notice was also issued as the concessionaire had raised loans by securitising the toll collection and without informing the NHAI.

The Delhi high court, subsequently, stayed the effect of the termination notice after the concessionaire challenged it in court.

In May, Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda wrote to the NHAI seeking shifting of the two toll plazas — at the entry of the Gurgaon and near Kherki Dhaula to Bilaspur.


The matter was discussed in a board meeting of the NHAI on May 14 and it was conveyed to the Haryana government that the first option was to press before the high court to allow termination of the concession agreement in the event of concessionaire’s default. In this case, the termination payment works out to beRs. 118 crore.

The next option was to press before the high court to allow the NHAI to acquire the toll plaza, citing political force majeure in light of problems being faced by citizens and request made by the government. The NHAI though put a rider that in such an eventuality: a clear commitment should be obtained from the government that the liability on account of termination payment – around ` 335 crore and any other claim which may arise on the account of termination — will be borne by the government


The state government then got itself impleaded in the high court. In its application, Haryana said it supported the termination notice issued by the NHAI and requested that both existing toll plazas be removed and erected at Bilaspur on the NH-8.

It also prayed that the high court may terminate the agreement with a one-time termination payment of Rs.118 crore or allow a Haryana’s proposal to acquire project/rights under political force majeure clause whereupon the state will bear liability on the account of termination payment. If the two options are not possible, the government may be allowed to operate a single toll plaza in Bilaspur



Only 75% toll during work on highways

October 9, 2013


(This rule will bring relief to lakhs of commuters on over 2,000 km of national highways which
 are scheduled to be taken up for  widening from four-lane to six-lane in the near future.)                                                                               

NEW DELHI: The Cabinet on Tuesday decided to allow developers to charge only 75% toll during work on six-laning of highway stretches. In its bid to ensure that developers don’t delay construction, it also allowed tolling to be suspended for failure to meet the deadline.

A senior government official said this provision will put pressure on both private road developers and government agencies such as National Highways Authority of India ( NHAI) and state PWDs to provide encumbrance free land and get statutory clearances for project development. “The party responsible for default will have to pay/bear the damage. Why should we allow people to suffer traffic jams and also pay toll charges,” the official said.

This rule will bring relief to lakhs of commuters on over 2,000 km of national highways which are scheduled to be taken up for widening from four-lane to six-lane in the near future.

In another decision, the Cabinet decided to bring more highways under the toll network. Tolling will be allowed on all future two-and-a-half lane roads (10 metres wide). Officials said the proposal is aimed to generate funds to keep roads in good condition.

However, the decision on fixing toll charges for expressways could not be taken due to difference of opinion. Sources said while Planning Commission favoured toll of 1.5 times than normal highways, road ministry wanted it to be capped at 1.25 times. A committee of three ministers has been set up to address the issue. The committee will submit its report in a week.

NH8 toll operator cheats on 16L/day: KPMG survey

September 27, 2013

Dipak K Dash, TNN |


NEW DELHI: KPMG conducted a week long, 24X7 traffic study in July at the Gurgaon toll expressway and has projected on the basis of the sample survey that due to under-reporting of at least 79,000 passenger car units (PCUs) daily by the operator NHAI lost about Rs 24 crore in 10 months. Significantly, tolling was suspended for over a month during this period due to a Punjab and Haryana High Court order.The survey was commissioned by the authority’s vigilance wing after CVC asked for it. Under-reporting of traffic at the toll plaza impacts NHAI’s revenue share. As per the contract norms, revenue from vehicles beyond 1.3 lakh PCUs in a day is shared equally between NHAI and the operator, DGSCL.Though the survey was conducted at all the three toll plazas on the expressway, the authority has first taken up the 32-lane plaza where revenue share is happening. Details emerging from the study show that on July 23, the difference in traffic as reported by DGSCL and that measured by KPMG was 1.57 lakh PCUs. In fact, on that day, DGSCL’s figure was barely half the number given by KPMG.Authority officials said that the average daily traffic during the little over 10 months when tolling happened works out to around 2.55 lakh PCUs while the company kept showing only 1.81 lakh PCUs. The number of vehicles was first manually counted at each toll gate indicating the category of vehicle. NHAI officials said that videography was also done to verify the details. “We will also submit the report in the court to prove our point,” an NHAI official said. A DGSCL spokesperson said, “We have not yet got the report and can only respond once we are able to go through it. The matter is currently being heard by Delhi High Court.”


NHAI officials said the authority lost revenue because of under-reporting of traffic and hence the detection of the major leakage was enough to strengthen its argument that there had been a substantial revenue loss. “This is due to developer’s default in managing the toll plaza. The notice has been sent in continuation of our show cause letter for termination issued on March 8,” an NHAI official said.

In the letter, NHAI had mentioned that since DGSCL did not give details of exempted vehicles, the authority had suspected that the company was diverting toll revenue instead of depositing it in the escrow account and not reporting actual revenues thereby causing loss to public exchequer.




Anti-toll campaign: one hurdle tackled, more laps to go

September 20, 2013

Siddhartha Rai, Hindustan Times  Gurgaon,

With Union minister for road transport and highways Oscar Fernandes himself working on a solution to ease traffic congestion on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, we think that something has finally been achieved after 50 editions of HT’s “Taking a Toll” campaign and it is time to take the endeavour to the next level.

As the minister visited the problem areas on the expressway and interacted with the people, the first-hand experience of people’s frustration and ire moved him to announce the proposal for an elevated bridge at Hero Honda Chowk.

“The flyover will cost nearly `100 crore and take 18 months to construct, but it will be a permanent solution that will go a long way in easing the traffic flow on this stretch of National Highway-8. We will also plead with the court for an early resolution to the expressway issue,” Fernandes had told HT after a meeting with Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, as the two met at Transport Bhawan, New Delhi, on Wednesday.

For the people

HT had turned its attention to the expressway after a public outcry over the project that had originally been conceived to catapult Gurgaon to the league of global business cities, but has eventually become a thorn in the side of residents.

HT took up cudgels on behalf of hapless people reeling under inordinate traffic holdups at the Sirhaul and Kherki Daula toll plazas and the lack of basic amenities that cost people their lives.

Through its activism, HT succeeded in lifting the morale of people who had lost all hope for anything to change with the expressway. The people’s movement in Gurgaon against the toll plazas and other issues was reactivated.

“In recent times, HT’s campaign against the expressway problems and the toll plazas is an example for other media houses to emulate. HT’s campaign has empowered us and the extensive coverage that included inside stories like the CAG’s censure of the project has not just informed us but also recharged us to carry on our struggle,” said Attar Singh Sandhu, general secretary of Toll Hatao Sangharsh Samiti, a citizens’ pressure group fighting for the removal of toll.

The issues that were taken up ranged from traffic jams that amounted to lost opportunities and salary cuts for commuters to technical matters like inherent design faults.

HT also traversed the psychological space of the daily victims of the expressway. How the expressway and the toll plazas are not just a physical, but also psychological barriers; how they have led to deteriorating mental health of the people; how efficiencies have dropped and how because of the toll plazas several industrial houses decided to shift from Gurgaon.

Journalistic activism

On its half-a-hundred-long journey, HT tried to leave no stone unturned, no door un-knocked; HT shook up all the trees to thrash out a panacea for a city dying under the pressure of its own traffic. From the chief minister of Haryana to the Union ministry of road transport and highways, from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to the negligent concessionaire DGSCL, HT barked at all the trees.

The problems were approached surgically for an acute and correct analysis; rather than pontification, people were involved to voice their concerns and responsibilities were fixed unfazed.

HT roped in experts from all walks of life to come up with an informed opinion rather than just conjecture and hollow reportage.

These people of intellect and experience not just showed the way to authentic information and analysis, but also came up with solutions and suggestions that shaped public opinion.


From otherwise-stolid local, state and national authorities, people started getting response. The joint commissioner of police (traffic) issued public notices to the agencies concerned; the NHAI sloughed off tardiness and took penal action against the concessionaire for having left the expressway to rot.

The agency even took matters in its own hands and ordered re-carpeting of service roads of the expressway, censuring DGSCL and charging the expenses on the company with a 15% surcharge.

A stretch of service road on the Delhi side was completed; the NHAI and the Haryana Urban Development Authority pooled in money for a foot-overbridge (FOB) at Hero Honda Chowk; the two agencies also finalised the construction of an FOB between Signature Tower and Iffco Chowk.

Looking forward

HT has now decided to expand its horizons. Yet again, on popular demand, HT wants to go hyper-local and look at the daily traffic mess that the internal traffic system of the city is in. This is an extension of our enterprise to make a difference to daily living in Gurgaon.

One of our experts Rohit Baluja, president of the Institute of Road Traffic Education, New Delhi, rightly pointed out, “Local authorities of Gurgaon found it easy to go with the development that was triggered with the expressway despite knowing that the national highway was not meant for local traffic and did not develop the internal road and traffic system properly.”












Delay road project, be ready for zero toll

September 13, 2013



New Delhi, Sept. 12: Motorists will not pay any toll for the period by which a private contractor widening a national highway overshoots the deadline, says a proposal sent to the cabinet for approval.

It adds that the toll will be slashed by 25 per cent from the day the widening project starts till the day the deadline arrives.

The proposal by the Union road transport and highways ministry comes after motorists complained about having to pay for driving on highways damaged by ongoing construction of lanes parallel to them. The move is also aimed at prodding the contractors to finish projects on time.

A toll is now charged only on highways with four or more lanes, but there is no exemption if some of the lanes are under construction. For instance, a private contractor can start charging toll on a two-lane highway from Day One of the project to build two additional lanes.

Contractors, therefore, lack an incentive to finish work on time. Widening a four-lane highway, on the other hand, brings no additional toll because it’s the length of a national highway and not its width that determines the rate.

“If a contractor is widening a four-lane road, he cannot charge a higher toll after completing the project — so why should he bother finishing it?” a ministry official said.


“Besides, the contractors fund the projects with the toll they collect instead of investing fresh money. The pace of the project, therefore, slows down since it depends on the trickle of the toll instead of a big capital investment.”

Under the proposed policy, motorists will pay 75 per cent of the toll while a two-lane or four-lane road is being widened. If the project is unfinished when the deadline arrives, they will pay nothing till construction is complete.

If the new policy is cleared, the government too will have to pull up its socks because bureaucratic tardiness is also a factor in highway projects getting delayed. Acquiring land and getting clearances from the environment and other ministries is the government’s responsibility.

“We have decided that tenders will not be floated for any project till 80 per cent of the required land is acquired,” the official said.

The proposed policy provides for a steeper penalty for overloaded vehicles and, unlike now, allows a higher toll on expressways (which don’t allow pedestrian crossings and have no traffic intersections) than on other national highways.

After much debate with the Planning Commission, which wanted the expressway toll to be several times higher than the highway toll, the ministry has proposed that the expressway toll will be 1.25 times the highway toll.

The ministry had been working on this policy for the past one year. The “zero toll” clause for exceeding the deadline owes to the new minister, Oscar Fernandes.

If the policy is approved soon, it will apply to the contracts to be awarded this financial year for the construction of at least 2,500km of roadways. The last toll policy was framed in 2008; the one before it in 1997.


Most highway projects are now awarded on a build-operate-toll mode. A private contractor spends his own money to build or widen a road and collects toll on it for an agreed period of 15 to 25 years. A portion of the collections goes to the National Highway Authority of India.


Highlights of the proposed national highway toll policy


• Toll for a four-lane road can be charged on wo-lane highway the day widening starts

• No financial disincentive for private contractor for project delay


• Only 75 per cent of the toll can be charged from Day One of project till deadline

• If deadline exceeded, zero toll till project is complete




Expert speak: Dharam Bir Gaba former Haryana minister

September 12, 2013

‘Why do we pay for mismanagement?’

Expert speak: Dharam Bir Gaba former Haryana minister

The Sirhaul and Kherki Daula toll plazas must go. They have failed to deliver on the promise of making the commute between Gurgaon and Delhi hassle-free. Instead, the expressway exposed motorists to daily traffic snarls.

The two toll plazas have become symbols of exploitation of the public. Why should we pay toll when we already pay road tax is the first and most important question that comes to my mind, given the mayhem unleashed on the expressway.

The next question: When will the city be freed of these shackles as the concessionaire has already earned substantial revenue.

The toll is sapping life out of the city and its residents. Has any part of the city not been affected by the tyranny of the toll plazas? I see none. All have been mauled under the dead weight of the toll plazas which was camouflaged as payment for superior services.

We are paying, not for better services but to make life more difficult. The service roads are narrow and poorly maintained, making them motorable only for heavy vehicles.

Most amenities promised by the expressway operator have fallen into disuse because of lack of proper upkeep.

We continue to pay for inferior services despite high inflation. Prices of all essential commodities have gone through the roof. The toll adds to graph as such commodities are transported by road.

How will the common man survive in such difficult times if people continue to pay for mismanagement?




Gurgaon: tags no smart solution for eway mess

September 12, 2013

Snehil Sinha, Hindustan Times

Smart tags and cards have been a puzzle for commuters since the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway was inaugurated. While many daily commuters claim that they are not even if smart tags are still in use, others complain the limited validity of recharge on smart cards makes its usage cumbersome.

“I have no information about a smart card being issued nowadays and have not even seen any of my friends, who regularly travel between Delhi and Gurgaon, using it. These cards have not been endorsed properly and it seems they don’t want us to use the cards at all”, said Vivek Kamboj, an environmentalist and a resident of Gurgaon.

 Interestingly, a high-level panel had recommended use of DMRC-like smart cards years ago, fearing inconvenience posed by renewal of tags.

After the Comptroller and Auditor General’s performance audit of the Gurgaon Expressway in 2008, a specially constituted panel of parliamentarians had taken up the issue.

It had recommended that the NHAI should have a mechanism to monitor the toll plazas with a view to prevent putting the users through unnecessary harassment by way of illegal and unscrupulous methods of toll collection. The committee’s report stated that it understood that the renewal of monthly tags, issued by the concessionaire, is inconvenient to the users.

The committee therefore recommended that these tags be converted into smart cards and can follow the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) smart cards pattern which is renewed after exhausting the amount.

According to information revealed by an RTI, the NHAI observed that when it came to concession for local traffic, there was a lapse of balance amount after its expiry within a month in various cases.

The NHAI further directed the concessionaire to take immediate steps so that no balanced amount lapsed from the card or tag issued to the local traffic from March 2010 onwards. An independent consultant later reported to the NHAI that the concessionaire could not be penalized for lapse in the balance amount, as the clause was not a part of the agreement.

The same consultant in 2011 had reviewed DGSCL’s annual report on the working of toll collecting system and suggested that lapse in balance of discount schemes needed to be reviewed.

After protests on the imposition of toll, the concessionaire introduced tags at discounted rate in 2008. This was later improvised to smart cards in 2012, which the DGSCL, after court directives, is now pushing for. However, the smart cards, though issued free of cost unlike the tags, still carry a validity expiry period of one month if not used adequately. Though the concessionaire told HT that there were cards for which there is no validity of recharge and the balance could be carried forward, but the cards had no discount rates.



Confusion over speed limit multiplies eway commuters’ woes

September 9, 2013

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Gurgaon,


The ride on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway is getting tougher as regular commuters bear the brunt, thanks to a series of hurdles.

Already hassled with long traffic jams on the two toll plazas at Sirhaul and Kherki Daula, confusion over speed limit adds to their woes.

They rue that despite paying toll twice, the drive towards Manesar and further to Jaipur remains chaotic. “Reckless drivers who flout the speed limit rule the road. They dangerously overtake and have no concept of lane driving,” said Arshdeep Singh, an entrepreneur.

Khsitiz Varma, a resident of Delhi, who drives down to his Manesar office everyday said that there is no implementation of the speed limit on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway and many motorists drive at a dangerous speed of more than 100 kmph. “It gets fatal when they crisscross from one lane to another,” he said.

Traffic police officials said that most accidents on the expressway take place while overtaking from the wrong side.

“Despite clear signage, people overtake from the left whereas they are supposed to overtake from the right using the top lane. You also find motorists who drive at less than 60 kmph in the top lane and don’t give way to others. The top lane is meant only for overtaking,” said a senior traffic official.

According to informed estimates, about 88% of the people here commute either on foot, two-wheelers (including cycles, scooters and motorbikes) or by public transport.

Ironically, this whopping majority is not allowed on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway. There aren’t enough footover bridges or underpasses and the service lanes either do not have pavements or are broken and hazardous. The lack of infrastructure has led to gross traffic violations with cyclists and pedestrians using the expressway at all times during the day.

“The expressway in Gurgaon is not a bypass. It cuts across the city, which is why there is a need for services like foot-over bridges and underpasses for pedestrians. However, these services are shoddy and need to be upgraded soon,” said Sarika Panda Bhatt, an urban planning expert with World Resource Institute.

“In many progressive cities of the world there is a concentrated effort to avoid these urban expressways and wherever these eyesores have been built, they are being torn down, especially those that cut through the city. This is because these minimised use of land space and reduced the quality of life for city residents,” Bhatt added.



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