Puneet Duggal, Gurgaon based enterpreneur
I have been using the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway everyday to go to my office situated at the Industrial Model Township in Manesar ever since this stretch of National Highway-8 was thrown open for the public in January 2008.
There is a lot of hue and cry over the inefficiency of the concessionaire firm in dealing with emergency situations on the expressway, such as accidents or stranded broken-down vehicles. But frankly it will be wrong to say that the toll operator does not respond to emergencies at all.
However, in most cases, the time taken by them to respond is longer than expected. In emergency situations, as the time taken to respond increases, so does the risk of the situation getting out of hand. And in case of an accident, the delay can spell doom for the victim who needs prompt medical attention.
Last month, my car broke down and I was stranded just after crossing the Kherki Daula toll plaza while on my way back home from my Manesar office late in the evening. I preferred calling a private helpline, whose service I have paid for, to placing a call to the expressway toll-free number.
I could get my car towed to a garage within just 30 minutes.
But with the expressway response team, while they might register your call and a patrolling vehicle might reach you within 15-20 minutes, the recovery vehicles take much longer to come. So, most commuters like me prefer the services of private operators in case of emergencies on the expressway.
I recall an early morning traffic snarl on the Signature Tower flyover in which I got stuck for over an hour. After much speculation and futile attempts at finding a way out, we realised that a heavy vehicle had broken down somewhere ahead and the delay was due to the fact that a crane couldn’t reach the spot on time.
Like the Yamuna expressway, if the entire stretch of the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway comes under CCTV camera surveillance, the operator can spot any incident as and when it occurs and will be better prepared to respond to it much faster.