Living in constant fear of being run over by speeding vehicles near the toll plazas, residents of urban villages along Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway have formed a group to fight for removal of the toll system.
According to a Right to Information response, on an average 300 accidents occur between Dhaula Kuan and Kherki Daula toll plazas every month.
“The toll plazas have been imposed on us and these have been a major cause of tension since operations began in January 2008. We want the tolls removed,” said Rambir Singh, a resident of Narsinghpur and member of Toll Sangharsh Samiti, the body pushing for removal of the plazas.
It is estimated that about 10,000 pedestrians and cyclists from Sikanderpur alone cross the expressway every day for work, including about 500 children who study in the high school across the highway. Another 10,000 cross the highway in areas around Rajiv Chowk and between Iffco Chowk and Udyog Vihar.
“We have been fighting for a long time for the removal of the toll plazas in Gurgaon. These make commuting unsafe for pedestrians who have to use the expressway as the service lanes are more hazardous and accident-prone,” said RS Rathee, vice-president, Toll Sangharsh Samiti.
There are more than a dozen villages located along the 18-km-long stretch of the expressway in Gurgaon and over 1.5 lakh pedestrians cross it daily.
“They include school children and factory workers,” said Ashok Sarpanch, a resident of Naharpur, who strongly condemns the tolls’ existence. Sarpanch believes that the stretch will become pedestrian-friendly once the tolls are removed and traffic speed gets normalised and warranted.
While launching their protest over the toll plazas, local people also expressed the urgent need for the upgrade of footover bridges, underpasses, flyovers, etc.
“Footover bridges and underpasses should be at adequate locations and intervals. These should be integrated with the bus-stops and be near all major employment points,” said Sarika Panda Bhatt, an urban planning expert.