A meeting between the nine representatives of villages situated along the Sohna-Ballabgarh highway and officials of the concessionaire firm managing the thoroughfare on Friday failed to resolve the deadlock regarding the toll issue at Nunera toll plaza.
The villagers have been resisting payment of taxes at the plaza — arguing that they must be exempted like those from villages along national highways.
A representative of concessionaire firm Reliance Infrastructure Ltd announced in the meeting that the company had decided to slash the rate for their private vehicles from Rs. 300 a month to Rs. 100.
The proposal was rejected by the sarpanches. “We are not going to pay anything for our vehicles. Firstly, it is situated on our lands; secondly, we have to commute from one village to another a number of times daily; and lastly, services provided by Reliance are not satisfactory,” said Devraj Raghav, sarpanch of Tainthad Badshahpur village.
A Reliance spokesperson said, “We are incurring huge losses owing to non-payment of toll charges and even dumpers laden with stones do not pay. There is no question of exemption as we have to look at the commercial viability of the project. We have given a concession, but only for Nunera toll booth.”
ACP (Sohna) Hitesh Yadav, who was present at the meeting as a mediator, told the gathering that it was up to them to solve the issue, given that the police had tried arbitrating.
“I do not want things to escalate to a law and order issue,” added Yadav.
Already, two cases have been filed against the villagers for having indulged in fights with the toll staff and a constable has been sent to police lines for his lax attitude in the matter.
It was also decided at the meeting that automated ID cards would be issued to each vehicle, which would identify whether the vehcile owner belongs to any of the nine villages.