M A I N   N E W S

Toll collection on Jalandhar-Delhi highway to be suspended
Sarbjit Dhaliwal/TNS

Chandigarh, September 6
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is all set to suspend toll collection on the Jalandhar-Ambala-Panipat-Delhi highway.

The reason: The condition of the highway, which happens to be one of the busiest highways in the country, is far from satisfactory. The highway is replete with potholes at many places and one has to negotiate diversions at several places while travelling from Jalandhar to Delhi.

The toll collection on the highway was expected to be around Rs 315 crore this fiscal year as against Rs 290 crore collected last year. Toll rates were reportedly hiked recently.

“We are prepared to serve a notice on the developer of this highway regarding the suspension of toll collection,” said Satish Chandra, Member (Finance), NHAI. He said the NHAI had been flooded with complaints regarding the poor condition of this highway and there was no alternative except to suspend the collection of toll to provide relief to travellers.

There is a provision in the rules to suspend the collection of toll in case the road quality is not maintained to a satisfactory level.

Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari met Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Oscar Fernandes yesterday and said though the work on the highway remained suspended for about a year, the toll had been hiked. Tewari urged Fernandes to get the construction work expedited to complete the highway.

As a large number of people, including top politicians, have objected against the raising of toll rates before the completion of the six-laning of the highway, the Road Transport and Highways Ministry has also decided to make significant changes in the toll-levying and collection policy. There are separate policy frameworks for four-lane and six-lane highways.

In case of four-lane highways, the toll cannot be charged before the completion of the work on the entire stretch of the road. However, when the four-lane highway is expanded to six lanes, the developer can start collecting the enhanced toll immediately after starting the expansion work.

Under the new policy, the Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry has reportedly proposed to reduce the toll to 70 per cent of what was collected for travelling on the four-lane road.

“As those travelling on the highway under expansion have to face lot of difficulties and take several risks while negotiating diversions, it has been proposed to reduce the toll to 70 per cent to provide relief to road users,” said a senior official of the NHAI.

The Road Transport and Highways Ministry would put up this policy issue before the Union Cabinet for approval soon, he said.





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