Massive traffic jams made a comeback on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway on the day the Punjab and Haryana high court allowed the concessionaire to begin collecting toll tax from motorists, except during peak hours.
The division bench headed by justice SK Mittal ordered that the concessionaire would not collect toll from 8.30am to 10am and 5.30pm to 7pm till the case comes up for hearing next Wednesday.
After a trouble-free and toll-free ride for 24 days, commuters were in for a surprise on Friday evening when the expressway operator started collecting toll. Thousands of vehicles started piling up within minutes on both sides of the expressway.
On September 4, the high court had prohibited the firm from collecting fee for failing to decongest the toll plaza. The prohibitory decree had ceased to apply to commercial vehicles on September 20.
Over the last few days, the expressway firm had claimed to implement various measures such as setting up of three split toll plazas of 6, 7 and 8 lanes each, five toll collection booths ahead of the toll plaza, strict enforcement of the tag lane but on Friday none of these helped ease the traffic chaos. The main reason was lack of awareness among commuters.
Despite the high court orders, very few traffic police personnel were seen at the spot and cash lane users straying into tag lanes were not penalised. Commuters can expect normal traffic flow on the weekend but Monday onwards, they will have to brace for snarls when the real test begins.