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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Roads under repair can’t charge toll

Moushumi Das Gupta , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 09, 2012
First Published: 01:02 IST(9/10/2012) | Last Updated: 01:05 IST(9/10/2012)

Fed up of shelling out a hefty toll for a highway ride slowed down by ongoing construction work with debris strewn all around and barricades?
Well, soon, commuters might get some relief.
 
In the face of mounting public anger, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is planning to either freeze or reduce toll on all future highway projects that are set to be expanded from four to six lanes, if developers fail to complete the work on time.

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"The move will discourage developers from delaying projects," NHAI chairman RP Singh told HT.

At present, developers are allowed to charge full toll even while the expansion work is on. That and the fact that there is no penalty in sight have spiked the number of 'late' projects.
 
Not only does the patchy expansion work inconvenience commuters, it also makes a ride along these highways risky.

Presently, there are over a dozen highway projects which are being upgraded to six lanes. These include Panipat-Jalandhar, Delhi-Jaipur and Pune-Satara projects.

"The reduced toll will cut down delay. Developers will be forced to complete the upgradation work on time," said Singh.

In 2012-13, NHAI plans to award eight such highway projects that will be upgraded from four to six lanes.

The proposal is likely to be taken up by an inter-ministerial group shortly.

"It won't come into force with retrospective effect as charging toll while a highway is upgraded from four to six lanes is part of the concession agreement that NHAI has signed with the developer," said an NHAI official.

Once the new proposal is approved, it will be incorporated in all future concession agreement that NHAI signs with the road developer.

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