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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

Stalemate continues over toll between villagers, operator

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Gurgaon, June 23, 2013
First Published: 00:52 IST(23/6/2013) | Last Updated: 00:56 IST(23/6/2013)

A crucial meeting called by the Gurgaon police commissioner to resolve the stalemate between villagers and the Gurgaon-Faridabad expressway operator, over the issue of non-payment of toll, ended without any conclusion on Saturday.

 
The final decision was deferred to another meeting, to be called within a week by the joint commissioner of police, as representatives of some villages could not make it to the Saturday’s parley.

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Heads of several villages, led by councillor Mahesh Daima, met the representatives of Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, the parent company of concessionaire GF Toll Road Private Ltd, in the presence of top police officials including commissioner Alok Mittal and joint commissioner Maheshwar Dayal.

After the meeting, a senior official of Reliance Infra said, “We are mulling over a concession for private vehicles of the villagers, but exemption altogether is out of question. We will reveal about the concession, if any, in the next meeting only.”

Villagers are not ready to pay the toll. Azad Tanwar, village head of Tigra, said, “We will not agree to payment of toll in any condition. We will fight and die against the toll.”

Councillor Mahesh Daima, who took part in today’s meeting, said the government should allow people from nearby villages to use the toll road without paying tax.

“Villagers have to cross the toll plaza a number of times during the day on account of daily engagements. It will be highly irrational for them to pay toll for every such trip,” Daima said.

Nearly ten villages that fall around the Bandhwari toll plaza have been fighting tooth and nail against the imposition of toll charges on the movement of their vehicles. The situation has turned violent on a number of occasions in the past.

The concessionaire has complained that the villagers refuse to pay toll tax quite often, and regularly indulge in spat with its staff over the issue.

The operator has threatened to withdraw from the project after incurring losses worth crores, allegedly due to non-payment of toll by locals as well as the trucker mafia.

The operator claims that it has suffered a loss of nearly Rs. 90 crore, since the 25-km toll road was thrown open to the public on June 29 last year.


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