All vehicles passing through the Sirhol toll plaza on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway would have to pay toll fee round the clock after 5:30pm on Tuesday, with the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday lifting the ban on toll fee collection, initially imposed on September 4.
As per the earlier court directions, as of now, the concessionaire, Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DGSCL), is allowed to collect toll fee from all vehicles, except during peak traffic hours (8:30 to 10am and 5:30 to 7pm).
However, the division bench comprising justice SK Mittal and justice Inderjit Singh directed the Haryana police to ensure that no vehicle was allowed to take an "L-turn" in place of a "U-turn", as permitted by the rules, while going to Delhi from Gurgaon just before the toll plaza, near Ambience Mall.
The court observed that mostly the vehicles moving towards Ambience Mall from the Gurgaon side took an "L-turn" and caused a traffic jam. "If any violator is taking an "L-turn", challan him. The concessionaire should also put signages at particular places regarding the same with a warning that violators will be challaned," the bench said.
Ravindra Tomar, assistant commissioner of police (traffic), Gurgaon, informed the bench that the ban put by the court on the U-turn of vehicles during peak hours did not prove fruitful in easing traffic congestion. He added, "On the Delhi side, the traffic jam reaches up to Rajokri if the toll fee collection is permitted during peak hours in the morning as well as evening."
During the arguments, the bench also warned Tomar and the Haryana government counsel not to take the side of the Ambience Mall and think of public interest first.
The court also directed the concessionaire to put a red line, within 24 hours, at a distance of 400 metres from the toll plaza towards Delhi and at the foot of the overbridge from the Jaipur side before the toll plaza. It was directed that in case vehicles in the queue overshot the red line, it would be obligatory for the concessionaire to open the boom barrier to let vehicles cross the toll plaza so as to ease traffic congestion.
The bench directed the Haryana police to cooperate with the concessionaire and inform whenever the boom barrier needed to be opened. As per the concessionaire, around 80 vehicles can be accommodated within 400 metres from the toll plaza and eight vehicles cross the toll per minute.
Appearing for the concessionaire, senior advocate ML Sareen assured the bench that the concessionaire would follow all steps as per the decisions taken during the meeting held among the parties concerned on September 19.
However, the court refused to entertain the request made by the counsel appearing for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), that there should be separate lanes for commercial vehicles as the MCD would lose tax if the boom barrier would be opened by the concessionaire when the vehicles would overshoot the red line.
The bench also suggested that if any vehicle entered the wrong lane, it should be charged double toll fee, while the concessionaire and the National Highway Authority of India should consider rounding off the toll fee (Rs 21) to Rs 20 so as to avoid delay in toll fee collection.
The case would now come up for hearing on October 17.