The Hindustan Time’s campaign — Taking a Toll —got a big boost on Tuesday, with Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda coming out in support of the demand to remove two toll plazas on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway for a hassle-free drive.
“I’m going to talk to union minister for road transport and highways Oscar Fernandes on this subject... Talks have already taken place with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for the same. The ball is in their court. Hopefully Gurgaon residents should get relief soon,” Hooda said. He favoured moving the plazas beyond Manesar on National Highway 8.
HT had on Tuesday handed over to the CM petitions sent in by thousands of readers, calling for Sirhaul and Kherki Dhaula toll plazas to be shut down or shifted.
Driving on the expressway during peak hours is a nightmare, especially for office-goers. Long queues of vehicles waiting to get past the toll gates add anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour to the commute.
The state government though has shown interest in buying out the toll plazas and also pay termination fee if the NHAI ends the agreement, it is yet to give a time frame.
“Our hands are tied as the matter is with the National Highways Authority of India, but the toll plazas should never have come up within the city limits,” said Hooda.
"I empathise with lakhs of hassled commuters travelling daily on the expressway."
He blamed the previous government led by OP Chautala for the mess. "He (Chautala) should have questioned the move to introduce two toll plazas within the city limits."
Had he been the CM at the time of the signing of the agreement, he would not have allowed toll plazas within the city. "You cannot charge from commuters for travel within the city limits," Hooda said.