Thumbs down to toll-free expressway
The concessionaire of the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway has emphatically rejects the demand for making commuting along the superhighway toll free and termed it “impracticable”. Harish V Nair reports.delhi Updated: Jun 27, 2008 23:08 IST
DS Constructions, the concessionaire of the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway has emphatically rejected the demand for making commuting along the superhighway toll free and termed it “impracticable”.
The company also rejected the plea for more slip roads and pedestrian crossings on the expressway saying that allowing people and small vehicles to cross at all conceivable points would mean getting back to the previous situation. It defeats the purpose of construction of a flyway, the company said.
It was responding to a PIL filed in the Delhi High Court challenging the legality of the toll tax. The PIL says the highway was built on the already existing Delhi-Jaipur Highway and there is no separate toll road as in the case of the Delhi-Noida flyway “The government by charging tax and putting a financial burden was denying them the fundamental right of free access,” said petitioner’s lawyer Sahijpal.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice will take up the reply of DS Constructions on July 17
Says the affidavit filed by DS Construction: “There is no such right as free access. Terms and conditions and restrictions can be imposed with respect to the use of any road, particularly the highways. There is no obligation whatsoever of the state or of the NHAI or any other municipal or government to provide free access on the roads.” It said the road network in the country improved and people got world-class roads only after private participation.
DS Construction said non-levying of the toll was impracticable, as the company had invested over Rs 1,000 crore in the project and a further sum of Rs 3.50 crores is incurred per month in maintenance of the road and the connected infrastructure.
“Any order by the court interfering with the collection of the toll would affect not only the Delhi-Gurgaon highway but open a plethora of litigations. There are numerous stretches of access controlled highways in the country developed and managed by different concessionaires the issues raised in the present petition would then be raised with respect to all the said highways and lead to stoppage of collection of toll,” the affidavit said.
On pedestrian crossings, it said “the very purpose of the highway was to reduce the commuting time and to prevent the pedestrians, cattle from crossing the highway.