You may have to pay toll on way to airport

You may have to pay toll on way to airport

From March, start early to reach the airport, or you may end up missing your flight.

Navayuga Devanahalli Toll Pvt Ltd (NDTPL)'s proposal to collect toll from vehicles heading for the airport could result in long lines at the toll plaza. At present, the toll is collected only from vehicles coming out of the airport.

The company's decision comes after the state government began work on the toll-free alternative road to the airport from Hennur connecting the southeast gate of KIA. The road is likely to be thrown open by March.

MDTPL fears it would lose heavily because of the new road. NDTPL manager Amarnath Reddy told  DH they had written to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) seeking permission to open 15 to 17 toll booths to collect fees from vehicles heading to the airport since most vehicles would avoid paying toll on their return by using the alternative road.

At present, 50,000 airport cars exit at the booths.

NHAI officials said the state government has not consulted them on toll-free alternative road to the airport.

Additional chief secretary (PWD) M Lakshminarayana said NDTPL has not contacted the state government for opening new toll booths.

He said a clause in the concession agreement between NDTPL and NHAI had barred laying an alternative road till the completion of 10 years of the highway.

He said that with the lapse of 10 years, all hurdles to the alternative road to the airport have been cleared.

Public Works Minister H C Mahadevappa said all legal hurdles to the alternative road have been cleared and work on the last stretch from Mylenhalli to Begur will be completed in 45 days.

Vehicles will then be allowed from the southeast junction of the airport.

The company's earlier attempt to collect  toll  from vehicles heading to the airport had led to protests as travellers complained that they were missing their flights.

But traffic pile-ups could now be norm with the company deciding to collect  toll  from those going to the airport.

All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) south zone general secretary G R Shanmugappa threatned to block the highway if NDTPL opens booths at the entry points towards airport.

K Radhakrishna Holla of the Bangalore Tourist Taxi Owners Association said the alternative road will benefit travellers and reduce the distance for passengers from areas like Whitefield and Indiranagar. Up to 25,000 cars will use the alternative roads.

"NDTPL's booths will stop free flow of vehicles and cuase massive traffic jams near the  toll  plaza," he said.

Shanmugappa said NDTPL collects Rs 65 lakh a day from 50,000 cars at the  toll  booths. The compnay, which spent Rs 350 crore on the road, has already made a profit of Rs 900 crore, he said.

While  toll  booths could hold up vehicles on the highway, the surge in traffic from the alternative road will create jams inside the airport. Already, aiport authorities have set up traffic lights at a junction near the Taj Hotel near the airport.

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