Toll free unless complete, says NHAI

Toll free unless complete, says NHAI

Toll free unless complete, says NHAI

Delhiites are in for some relief on the roads. The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has said that it will not allow developers to charge toll tax from commuters till the time expansion related construction work on these highways is complete. At the moment, they are allowed to charge full toll tax even as expansion work goes on. NHAI hopes that this will speed up work as developers will want to recover the money invested.

Road safety activists and commuters have welcomed the move which comes days after toll tax collection on the Gurgaon Expressway was temporarily disallowed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court keeping in view traffic jams and resultant hassles to commuters.

Dr PK Sikdar of Intercontinental Consultants & Technocrats, an international consulting organisation specialising in highways, says, “It’s a very good move by NHAI. The purpose of a highway is to provide a convenient and time-efficient commute to people over long distances. If construction work is going on for years, it obstructs traffic and defeats the aim.”

“These days, most two lane highways are being converted to four lane and the latter are being turned to six lane. For example, the Delhi-Jaipur highway (NH 8) is being made six lane and is in a very bad shape. Ideally, developers should pick up certain stretches, like say 20 km, at a time and work on it. But they dig up the whole road and inconvenience users.”

Girish Kukreti, Director, Institute of Road Safety and Fleet Management cites another example, “NH 10, which links Peeragarhi in Delhi to Rohtak in Haryana, is also being expanded and there is debris all over which increases the chances of accidents many times over.”

“Sometimes, planning is faulty too which causes hassles to travellers. The Delhi to Jaipur Highway sees regular traffic jams at intersections like the Hero Honda Chowk. NHAI should be more careful in their designing so that these roads don’t become a headache for people.”

Commuters agree. Bhawna Kapoor, who travels from Noida Sector 62 to ITO using NH 24 says, “It’s a daily problem. Construction never seems to end on this highway. The divider is broken in many places. There is debris all around and traffic jams last at least an hour. The authorities should look at the causes for these problems and resolve them.”