The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has said the period for which toll is to be charged on the 28.69-km Zirakpur-Parwanoo Road by the Himalayan Expressways Private Limited was wrongly calculated as 20 years instead of 14 years, causing an additional burden of Rs 501 crore on road users.
The four- laning project includes 20 km in Panchkula, 2 km in Zirakpur and 6.69 km in Parwanoo. The project road up to 17.25 km is till Mallah in Pinjore and then there is a bypass (of about 11 km) till Parwanoo, which joins the main road near Timber Trail resort. The toll plaza operation started in April 2012 on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis.
In its fresh report on national highways projects, the CAG has said that the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had calculated the tollable traffic instead of the total traffic, while computing the concession period, leading to the 6-year increase in toll period.
Since September 1, 2014, a car/jeep/van has been paying Rs 28; a light commercial vehicle Rs 49; a truck/bus 98 and multi-axial vehicles Rs 157 for a single journey.
The total traffic on the stretch of the highway is to be considered for determining the design capacity and concession period.
The CAG reports says as per the directions of the Planning Commission, the concession period was to be restricted to the period when traffic reached maximum design capacity.
“The NHAI considered only the tollable traffic, instead of total assessed volume of traffic which is the carrying capacity of the road. This resulted in longer concession period which put an extra burden on road users,” says the report.
As per the CAG, the total traffic was 32,000 Passenger Car Unit (PCU), a method used to assess the traffic flow rate, for 2006. With 5% growth a year, the concession period should have been 14 years.
However, with the NHAI working out the tollable traffic instead of total traffic to compute the concession period, the toll period came out to be 20 years. The CAG has estimated that an extra burden of Rs 501 crore which will be collected through the Chandimandir toll plaza by the concession are will come from road users.
The ministry of road transport and highways has accepted the audit report on the incorrect adoption of tollable traffic, instead of total traffic for determination of concession period.