Court vacates stay on expressway toll collection

The Punjab and Haryana High Court in Chandigarh on Friday allowed the Delhi Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DGSCL) concessionaire to resume tax collection from private vehicles plying on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway, barring peak office hours daily in the morning and evening.

A division bench of justices Satish Kumar Mittal and Justice Inderjit Singh ruled on Friday that toll tax would not be collected from private vehicles on the expressway from 8:30am to 10am and again from 5:30 pm to 7 pm. The high court’s order came into effect from 7 pm onwards this evening and will continue till October 3 when the court said it would re-examine the traffic situation for further orders.   

The high court had stayed collection of tax by the concessionaire on the route on September 4 observing that the tax collection was resulting in major traffic chaos each day since the concessionaire was doing little to address the problem. Over a week ago, it permitted collection of tax from commercial vehicles.

The Bench questioned: “You take decisions a 100 times. What immediate steps are you taking tomorrow to bring relief to commuters?” The Gurgaon police too moved the high court alleging that the concessionaires were responsible for the chaos at expressway, as they were understaffed to deal with the traffic situation on the route which was resulting in long traffic snarls. They also submitted that the concessionaires were unwilling to spend money to ensure smooth flow of traffic, but only wanted to collect money. The Bench made it clear to the concessionaire that it’s right to collect toll is subject to public interest.

Arrangements

The concessionaire’s counsel informed the court the concessionaire has made arrangements at the toll plaza, including construction of additional road reducing 30 per cent of the burden of vehicles coming from Udyog Vihar side towards Delhi.

He said they have installed 13 temporary toll booths and were now clearing around 500 vehicles an hour. NHAI’s counsel emphasised that the concessionaire should be first directed to install devices at the toll collection booths and the hand-held devices need to be integrated with the main server to record the number of vehicles passing through the toll plaza. The concessionaire’s counsel said they were ready to install the device but would need a minimum of three months’ time. If the NHAI could install the device before that, the concessionaire was ready to pay the cost. The opposing counsel alleged that the concessionaire was involved in pilferage of toll fee.

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