Joint committee to look into toll hike; report by May 12

Joint committee to look into toll hike; report by May 12

A joint committee comprising representatives of the State government and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has been set up to look into the steep hike in toll on the expressway to the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA).

The committee will submit its report to Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Oscar Fernandes on May 12 to decide the next course of action.

Meanwhile, the deadlock and protest over the toll hike continued despite a meeting among the NHAI, the State government representatives and the concessionaire, Navayuga Engineering Company Ltd, at the Vidhana Soudha on Friday.

Fernandes was in attendance. The meeting lasted less than an hour.

A source, who attended the meeting, said that except for the formation of the said committee, no headway was made in the toll issue.

 It was earlier suggested that the government might buy time, hoping that the public anger against the toll hike would subside in the next few days.

After the meeting, Fernandes said: “The State government has conveyed its concerns to us. We have set up a joint committee of the NHAI and the State government to prepare a report and submit it to me by May 12.

Once the report is submitted, we will take the next course of action.”

NHAI officials said there was no proposal to give any temporary relief to motorists.

Rollback ruled out

At the meeting, Navayuga representatives are learnt to have ruled out rollback of the toll hike unless the Union or the State government assured to compensate it to the extent of the decrease in the toll.

State government representatives claimed there appeared to be a difference of Rs 20-25 in the new toll as calculated by the NHAI.

Besides, it is said the NHAI’s permission to Navayuga could not be accepted as full-fledged service roads were yet to be built as per the concession agreement.

NHAI representatives argued that as far as toll calculation was concerned, the new rates could not be entirely inaccurate as all proposals to hike the toll were scrutinised at headquarters in New Delhi.

On the service road, the NHAI blamed the Air Force, the Railways and the State government, saying they failed to give land for the purpose.

Land acquisition is said to have run into trouble as at least three to four places near the Jakkur airfield, the Yelahanka Air force station and the railway overbridge are en route to the airport.

The result is that service roads are either incomplete or their width has been reduced.

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