Misbehaving of Security personnel and delay in passing

October 21, 2013


From: Balasubramanian M. Iyer
Subject: Misbehaving of Security personnel and delay in passing

Message Body:
This is in furtherance to my below mail of 24th May 2013 relating to earlier incident of 17th May 2013 whereby due to irregular arrangement at your Toll Plaza self sufferred loss which have been sorted out amicably is now past affairs.

Now within a span of 5 months another shamful incident occurred on 18.10.2013 midnight (from 2300 hrs. 2400 hrs) at your above said Toll Plaza whereby the security personnel posted by your Department; who were on DRUNKEN MODE attacked my Office colleagues without any wrong doing by us.

Gist of incident:

Around 2300 hrs. on 18.10.2013 while we are returning from our Office duty at Sikka (we are working for Reliance at their RJMT, Port) the Toll booth is closed and no attendee is there to collect cash. (FYI we are having permanent monthly paid card). As we were so tired and reaching Jamnagar by late and are planning to attend duty next day due to closing of collecting point, upon wating of 10 minutes, we alongwith other vehicles behind us tried to push the ENTRY STICK by side as nobody is attending the booth at time, some security personnels blocked our march and thrashed us which created a noisy scene which is unwarranted.

The things become more worse and Police crom City of Jamnagar have intevened over phone as at that time of incident in police post no personnel available.

This type of incident is badly affecting your brand name L&T as a whole and DUE TO NON MANAGING THE BOOTH WITH WELL EDUCATED PERSONNEL BY YOU IS the result of worst adminstration on your part.

Earlier we have suggested to your Mr. Yashsish Trivedi to allot two entry points for Heavy vehicle and 4 for medium vehicle which fallen on deaf ears of your management. It clearly shows letharginess in manning the Toll Plaza by you and similar types of incidents has been occurred in past month too and no remedial action has been taken.

Submitted please for prompt action and improvement.

Mobile: 9725281857


Roads to Hell: The crumbling state of roads in India

October 16, 2013




Traffic is a synonym of Mumbai. Coupled with narrow roads and the potholes, which now I am beginning to believe are a part of an idea to help people save a trip to the moon or perhaps Mars.

What is it about the financial capital of India that the basic infrastructure of roads is in such a state? And if this is the state of roads in the so-called ‘best urban centre in the country’ I can’t even begin to imagine the state of roads in other parts.The blood-boil is coupled by the fact that the moment you step out of the cities and hit the highways the roads are butter-smooth, although still dangerous. Our roads are such beautiful pieces of gems that they deserve to awarded the ‘best imitation of the moon’s surface’. And the irony that the minister for road transport and highways is Mr ‘Oscar’ Fernandes is just not a coincidence.

Just for the sake of the tone of this column, I decided to check the website of this ministry. Describing itself, the ministry states, “An apex organisation under the Central Government, is entrusted with the task of formulating and administering, in consultation with other Central Ministries/Departments, State Governments/UT Administrations, organisations and individuals, policies for Road Transport, National Highways and Transport Research with a view to increasing the mobility and efficiency of the road transport system in the country. e Ministry has two wings: Roads wing and Transport wing.”

Nowhere the epitaph speaks about the basic task of building roads. Unless the government believes that our roads are already built and are in order. Just like how the government has brought down poverty in India to 22 per cent by formulating an ingenious policy of lowering the Below Poverty Line (BPL).

Also, read the last sentence of ministry’s self-description closely. The first word is ‘e’. I believe they wanted to write ‘The’ but ‘Th’ must have fallen in the depth of the potholed roads.

Now let’s read what the “Road Wing’ of the ministry actually states as its objectives: ‘Deals with development and maintenance of National Highway in the country.’ The road to development manoeuvres through the highways, touches the cities, misses it till it catches the next highway. After all, India lives on the highways. Cities and villages are too hipsterisque.

The main responsibilities of the ministry again begin with the importance given the national highways through planning, development and their maintenance. By now I am hoping the government should also form a ministry to look into a direct helicopter services from cities to these highways because clearly those are only roads the government is interested in.

The second and the only point that talks anything about the roads that makes our insurance premiums payments cry, it says, “Extends technical and financial support to State Governments for the development of state roads and the roads of inter-state connectivity and economic importance.” If the conditions of our city roads are anything to go by, then NASA should contract the Indian government to supply the technology to recreate the moon and its craters on Earth.

As you can read in this  article of 2010, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh outlined the spending on India’s infrastructure to the tune of $1 trillion in the 12th five year plan currently underway.

In the current and the second year of this five year plan, Singh finalised a spending of Rs 1,15,000 crore on the infrastructure sector, or roughly one-fourth of the total target of $1 trillion in these five years.

However, the impetus, as you can see, is not on the roads sector.

The road ministry had set an ambitious target of building 20 km of roads a day in 2009. However, in 2011-12 the average road construction, as this  story suggests, was just half of it.In 2012-13, the road ministry failed to even meet the half way mark of 4400 km in awarding road projects.

Even in the current fiscal, the bickering between the ministry and the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) continues on the model that the government should adopt to award the road projects. As per this story, a ministry official commented, ”Just because PPP projects have not taken off in the recent past doesn’t mean we junk the model and switch over to cash-contracts. We need to innovate and try all options before taking such a step.”

This indicates, if nothing else, continued delays in the road construction in India. And if this is what is happening to the government’s blue-eyed highways which are just a tiny fraction of India’s vast road network, us city dwellers and village folk can continue to save our amusement park money by enjoying the bumpy ride every day.

(Shubhashish is a journalist who is now pursuing Masters in International Studies and Diplomacy in London. )



Samithi flays move to aquire land for National Highway

October 16, 2013

Mangalore,  DH News Service


38 houses will have to be demolished if NHAI acquires 60-metre land for 4-laning from NITK to Pavanje
Rashtriya Heddari Bhoo Swadeena Santhrasthara Horata Samithi-Mukka office-bearers have opposed the move of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to acquire 60 metre land for the proposed work on four-laning of the National Highway 66 from NITK to Pavanje.

Addressing a press meet here on Tuesday, Samithi Vice President Ramachandra M G said that if the NHAI goes ahead with the acquisition process, then 38 houses situated on the eastern side of the road in Mukka Pete will lose their houses. “We had approached Union Minister for Surface Transport Oscar Fernandes to urge him to direct the NHAI not to acquire 60 metre land for the road. The residents residing on the eastern side of the road in Mukka had parted their land for road from Mukka-Pavanje in 1968 and 1972. Now, the authorities are laying only 15 metre road. At the same time, 28 to 30 metre land is already available with the government. Inspite of it, by violating the rules, the government has passed gazette notification for the land acqusition for the third time.”

He exhorted the authorities to take note of the written directions given by the previous government to restrict the land acquisition to 45 metres for the four-laning of the road in Mukka and act accordingly.

“As per the rules, the road should be widened equally on either sides from the central line. However, owing to vested interests, from Mukka-Padredwara, the authorities have changed the central line and amidst protest from the residents, have laid a road that passes in front of houses. Now, citing reason for shortage of space for service road, the authorities are hell bent on acquiring additional land,” he said. Samithi President K Mahabala Rai said, “engineers are citing the reason of alignment for changing the central line. There is no direct connection between Pavanje bridge and the present road. By making curves, the authorities have given scope for accidents on the highway,” he alleged.

Similarly, owing to the change in central line, land belonging to Sri Sathya Dharma temple and Kotyan Moolasthana will be acquired. The NHAI authorities have failed to make use of the available road for widening and laying service roads.

The samithi members have urged the authorities concerned to uniformly restrict the right of acquisition of land for the NH-66 widening. Though the highway passes through three states, all the three are following different rules. It is 30 metre in Kerala, 45 metre in Goa and 60 metre at a few places in Karnataka.

“We are not against development or widening of roads. However, the authorities should maintain uniformity and follow the guidelines while widening the roads,” said Rai.

In protest against the acquisition process, the Samithi members will hold a padayatra from Pavanje bridge to NITK on October 17. The road will be blocked for five minutes on the occasion. A petition will be submitted to the DC.



No respite for commuters in Alappuzha

October 15, 2013


ALAPPUZHA: It seems like that the public works department (PWD) and Kerala water authority (KWA) are playing with the lives of the people.Both these departments are not taking any steps to repair the roads, which were damaged after the pipes of the KWA burst repeatedly.

“I feel that authorities of the PWD and KWA here are neither afraid of the ministers nor of the media. On August 26, the PWD minister V K Ibrahim Kunju, who visited the district, directed the PWD to repair the roads like Cherthala-Kottayam within a week. Media has also reported about the bad conditions of the roads in the district. But the authorities concerned are acting as if there is nobody to question their lackadaisical attitude,” said Vinod K D, a driver from Cherthala.

The PWD minister had sanctioned Rs 87.21 crore for road repair works in the district.

Cherthala- Kottayam Road, which is a main road for going to Kottayam Medical College Hospital and Cherthala Taluk Headquarters Hospital, was repaired after the minister’s visit in the district. A sum of Rs 3 lakh was spent for levelling the potholes of the road. But it helped only to increase the number of potholes on the road. The pipes of the KWA through this road keep bursting daily. Pedestrians and drivers are bearing the brunt of it.

“There is dangerous curve at Muthalakkuzhi (near School Kavala) on Alappuzha-Madurai state highway. A huge pothole developed some months ago on the curve. Many two -wheeler riders were hospitalized after they fell in it. Thanks to the apathy of the PWD officials. Cars and heavy vehicles were also damaged due to this pothole,” said Sudheen Sudhakar, a driver from Muhamma.

“There have been no bus services through our village after the Alappuzha-Thanneermukkom Coastal Road developed potholes after the pipes of the KWA burst in different parts. We have approached the PWD and the KWA for repairing the road. But they were blaming each other. Finally, we ourselves repaired the road on Sunday,” said Aneesh Mohan, a student from Veliyambra, Thanneermukkom.

District collector N Padmakumar said that the repair works of all these roads will be started within this month and tenders have been invited for all the works.

The works of the roads will be completed within a month once it gets started, he assured.

“We have allotted tenders for the repair works of all the damaged road. And we don’t have fund shortage. The work was stopped only after the rain began. We hope that the work can be started this week and would be completed by the mid of November,” said PWD executive engineer Sanil S.



Economic Offences Wing unlikely to probe toll ‘fraud’ by Gurgaon e-way firm

October 15, 2013

Neeraj Chauhan & Dipak Kumar Dash, TNN |

NEW DELHI: The Economic Offences Wing(EOW) of Delhi Police is likely to turn down NHAI’s request to investigate irregularities in the reporting of toll collection by the Gurgaon expressway operator.The EOW will cite jurisdictional issues as well as the fact that the CBI specializes in investigating such matters while expressing its inability to take up the probe into what looks like a major under-reporting of revenue by Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Ltd (DGSCL). NHAI in its application had alleged that it lost Rs 24 crore due to under-reporting between August 2012 and July 2013.

The EOW is looking into the matter as part of a preliminary enquiry. A senior Delhi Police officer said, “The primary opinion of investigators and experts in our unit is that the CBI has already investigated a similar case and it is fit to probe such a case. Also, the irregularities have taken place in Gurgaon and the EOW has no jurisdiction there”.

Sources said the NHAI and the highways ministry will be informed once the final decision is taken. EOW, a specialized unit of Delhi Police, usually investigates frauds of more than Rs 2 crore and cases referred by Delhi courts. However, it has never investigated a case related to Gurgaon, said sources.

Alleging a breach of trust, NHAI had complained that the operator, DGSCL, resorted to ‘dishonesty’ by diverting toll for its own use. NHAI has said the concessionaire, its directors, officers and other persons were party to ‘criminal conspiracy’ with an intent of fraud.



Residents protest against unscientific Nanthoor Circle, NHAI infrastructure

October 7, 2013

Stanley Pinto, TNN

MANGALORE: Unable to bear the pathetic condition of road at the Nanthoor Junction, the residents of Nanthoor, Bikarnakatte, Bajjodi and Jayashree Gate staged a protest at the Nanthoor Circle here on Thursday.
The unscientific construction of the circle; the road without proper gradient and footpaths have made the lives of the road users and residents miserable. If its slush and pot holes during monsoons, it is dust bath during other times the users have to put up with.

Vasanth Kumar Shetty, administrator of Saanidhya Residential School, Shakthi Nagar for special children says: The work should have finished in 2007 and we are still suffering due to the shoddy work done by NHAI. Last monsoon we contacted NHAI and brought this problem to their notice and this year it was worse. I don’t think they have taken it seriously.

“Our school for day scholars starts at 9.15am. Most of the times students reach after 9.30am. What should take 10 seconds to cross that circle takes half an hour to 45 minutes. Forget technical persons, even a common man knows that the road is unscientific. But still we don’t have any solution from NHAI- even after so many tears,” he said.

Eric Ozario, head of Mandd Sobhann: “The residents were protesting against genuinely bad condition of roads, the unscientific circle, a junction which has no footpaths for pedestrians, no gutter for proper flow of rain water. It’s a chaos of a situation there. I pass that circle four times a day and its pathetic.”

NHAI Project director Shriram Mishra told TOI: The section would be asphalted immediately after rains stop and the problem of rain water overflow will not be there since a fly over will be constructed with a cross drain and footpaths.

Source- http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com


NHAI refers Gurgaon e-way toll collection case to EoW

October 7, 2013

Dipak Kumar Dash, TNN

NEW DELHI: The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police will look into the under-reporting of toll collection by Gurgaon expressway operators, which has allegedly caused a Rs 24 crore loss to the NHAI.

EoW officers said there would be raids across the concerned offices and sleuths would collect the accounts register to establish the concessional shares of respective parties.

Alleging this as “breach of trust” NHAI has complained that the operator DGSCL resorted to “dishonesty” by diverting toll for its own use. NHAI has said the concessionaire, its directors, officers and other persons were party to “criminal conspiracy” with intent of fraud.

NHAI referred the case after the highways ministry asked it to lodge a criminal case against the operator as it was first reported in TOI on Tuesday. The ministry had issued this advisory after TOI had reported how a week-long study of traffic flow at 32-lane toll plaza in July had exposed average underreporting of at least 79,000 daily. The daily toll collection was less by Rs 15.58 lakh during that period.

The authority has also alleged DGSCL of committing forgery of valuable securities by making false documents and electronic records, book of accounts etc for underreporting of toll and used them as “genuine”.

NHAI has also said that Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had directed it in July 2011 to investigate the toll issue and subsequently in December that year they had appointed KPMG to carry out traffic study. NHAI in its complaint to EoW has claimed the operator never cooperated citing some “trivial” reasons until July this year.

“The complaint has just come to us. It suggests that there is a dispute of share distribution of collections. We will have take help of our financial experts in probing this particular matter,” said a senior EoW officer.

DGSCL in a statement again refuted the traffic numbers put by KPMG through their manual counting process. “It appears that KPMG has not done any traffic count study but has only presented the figures provided to them by a third party vendor, which is a security service company. Our toll plazas are equipped with the most advanced automatic vehicle classification and counting (AVCC) system which is completely computerized and there is no scope for human error or intervention. We are scrutinizing the manual data given to us and once the data is proven to be incorrect we would take strong action against the parties responsible for this,” a company spokesperson said.




Blank toll receipts stretch Delhi-Gurgaon expressway logjam, road min wants probe

September 27, 2013

Timsy Jaipuria | New Delhi

SUMMARY  The ministry, official sources said, has forwarded these complaints to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for necessary action

While the legal battle over the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway continues between the government, lender IDFC and the developer DS Constructions, the ministry of road transport and highways has received several complaints from commuters alleging that the developer is issuing blank toll receipts. The ministry, official sources said, has forwarded these complaints to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for necessary action.The NHAI in March had issued a showcause notice to DSC for not depositing the entire toll collected in the escrow account as required. “The ministry has received numerous complaints regarding people getting blank toll receipts at the Gurgaon toll plaza and such a matter needs to be looked in and investigated,” the ministry told the NHAI in a letter written by joint secretary (highways) Rohit Kumar Singh.

The matter came to light in April and the roads ministry has taken up the issue with the authority more than once. It, sources said, also attached one of the blank toll receipts it got from a complainant with the latest letter, asking the authority to inquire and find out the genesis of such blank toll receipts. The ministry asked the authority to take up the issue with the concessionaire, saying it is a clear violation of the concession agreement signed between the authority and the developer.

NHAI’s March notice to DCS said: “In the last several days, the revenue collection is falling and the NHAI feels that the concessionaire is diverting the toll revenue instead of depositing it into the escrow account.”

The authority also added that the concessionaire was also not promoting electronic tolling and monthly passes to the benefit of local traffic. With the increasing number of complaints, the government has made up its mind that it no longer wants the current developer to run the expressway.

Road transport minister Oscar Fernandez last week said that the government would make a concerted plea in the Delhi high court for an early decision.

The decision for joint representation by all wings of the central government and the Haryana government was taken in a high-level meeting between Fernandez, state CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda, DSC and senior officials of the road ministry.

DS Constructions chief HS Narula is understood to have told the minister that the company is not interested in going for an out-of-the-court settlement.

A senior road ministry official privy to the meeting said the government also told the concessionaire that it had not met the MoU conditions signed last year but the concessionaire dismissed the charges, adding the government had not cooperated with it.

The issue is in the court since last two years now.

“We want an early decision because the public is suffering because of the delay in the decision and we going to strongly plead our case,” Fernandez said.

FE in an earlier report said the IDFC-led consortium’s R1,600-crore exposure to the expressway project is in trouble because the relevant loan agreement does not empower the lead lender to replace the over-leveraged concessionaire – DSC – even in case of default.

The NHAI had contested the developer changing the lenders (taking much higher amounts of loans) without its consent although these loans were based on the future revenue streams of the expressway project.

Source -http://www.financialexpress.com

Operators blame cash users for traffic snarls on e-way

September 25, 2013

Aditya Dev, TNN |


GURGAON: While traffic snarls have made a comeback at the 32-lane toll plaza, the private concessionaire of Delhi-Gurgaon expressway blames cash users entering tag lanes as the major cause of indiscipline.Meanwhile, the concessionaire, Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Ltd (DGSCL), has failed to popularize “touch and go” smart cards among commuters – an initiative to reduce wait time at the toll gates.

DGSCL failed to open a single sale point for smart cards along the expressway. The concessionaire was required to promote the sale of smart cards by making it available at petrol pumps and other convenient places along the expressway. It has been able to issue just 18,000 smart cards since last October.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the highway authority and the concessionaire, signed in September, 2012, has made it obligatory for DGSCL to introduce touch card technology on the toll plazas. Later, following an order of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Gurgaon police had suggested opening of outlets for selling smart cards at vantage points along the expressway to popularize it. The concessionaire opened one such sale point near the 32-lane toll plaza.

Now, this has also been shut and smart cards are only available at the three toll plazas of the expressway.

The drive to penalize cash users entering in the tag lanes also failed to take off. Out of 32 lanes, eight are earmarked for electronic tag users. But, the facility rendered useless with cash users also using this lane. In such a scenario, tag users are also made to wait in queues.

DGSCL has so far issued 1,37, 973 tags, out of which 1,23,006 are active, revealed an RTI reply given to a city resident Aseem Takyar.

A DGSCL spokesperson said, “Tag users are not able to get the benefit of a smooth passage as cash users deliberately get into tag lanes. This is one of the biggest reasons for congestion at the toll plaza. Ideally waiting time in tag lanes should be minimal if only tag users use the tag lane.”

“However, when cash in tag lane violation is high, the transaction rates in these “mixed” lanes, where cash users also enter tag lanes, sometimes dips to levels even lesser than the transaction rates of cash lanes. This is clearly a driving discipline issue that can only be resolved by challaning the errant cash drivers who enter the tag lane. Since as a concessionaire, we do not have the authority to challan such errant vehicles, we had written to the NHAI to give us the rights to challan such errant vehicles. As that did not happen, we have repeatedly requested the traffic police to step in as they have the authority to challan cash users who enter tag lanes. This needs to be done on regular basis,” the spokesperson added.

When contacted, joint commissioner of police (traffic) Bharti Arora said, “There is no such rule in Motor Vehicle Act to challan motorists for entering tag lanes. But, National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and the concessionaire can fix a penalty for this.”

Source -http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Never an emergency on express-way?

September 25, 2013

Aditya Dev, TNN |

GURGAON: An RTI reply has revealed that not a single call or request has been received through the SOS call service on Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway during the last one year. A spot visit to SOS booths on Friday revealed that they were out of order.The SOS service is meant to provide assistance to commuters in case of emergency. According to the concession agreement, emergency telephone system should be installed every two km and monitored by central control system.

While agreeing that the concessionaire, Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Ltd (DGSCL), hardly receive any calls on SOS booths and stated that commuters prefer calling in directly on the toll free number and the other two helpline numbers from their mobile phones.

There are 26  DGSCL booths along the expressway.

The booths have remained out of the order for most of the time since its installation on account of vandalism and not being repaired by DGSCL. The Friday visit was no difference. The booths were out of order there was no response from them


The RTI applicant, Aseem Takyar, had sought reply from the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) about the total number of complaints, requests for SOS service in the last one year. NHAI stated that no complaint, requests were received. The authorities, however, added that more information is being obtained from the concessionaire.

NHAI said through the SOS helpline any service/help can be obtained from the corridor control of the concessionaire. As per the concessionaire agreement, the concessionaire is also required to provide medical room, first aid material in ambulance. There are four ambulances deployed by the concessionaire.

A DGSCL spokesperson said, “In case of any breakdowns or accidents, commuters prefer to call in from their cell phones directly at the toll free numbers that are mentioned along the expressway and on the toll receipt. They can call in at the toll free number 1800-103-1700 or at 9717890175 and 0124-2450800.”

More than a 100 calls are received every day on the toll free number and another 25-30 calls are received on the other two numbers which our corridor control teams respond to speedily, added the spokesperson.


DGSCL yet to receive NHAI notice

The DGSCL is yet to receive the notice issued by the NHAI regional office issued on Monday. NHAI office issued notice to the concessionaire directing it to immediately take up the road repair work of the expressway and service lanes. A DGSCL spokesperson stated Friday that the concessionaire has not yet received the notice. However, we would be responding to it as soon as we receive it. The maintenance of service roads on the expressway is also part of the matter being heard by the Delhi High Court where the matter is sub judice and would be next heard by the court in July.


An RTI application was filed seeking information from the NHAI about the total number of complaints/ requests for the SOS service

There are 26 SOS booths along the expressway

The booths are out of the order since its installation on account of vandalism, neglect

Commuters prefer calling in directly on the toll free numbers displayed on the route. There are three numbers 1800-103-1700 or at 9717890175 and 0124-2450800.”

More than 100 calls are received every day on the toll free number

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