The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), in an RTI reply, has revealed that the operator of the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway has collected Rs583 crore as toll tax till August 2011, crossing the total project cost of Rs555 crore.
However, Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DGSCL), the operator, claimed that the cost of constructing the expressway had escalated to Rs1,200 crore following changes in the design and various additions to the project. The 27.7-km stretch between Rao Tula Ram Marg (Delhi) and Kherki Daula toll plaza (Gurgaon) was opened for commuters on January 25, 2008.
The entire stretch has three toll plazas at Delhi border, Kherki Daula and IGI Airport loop. Highest collection was made at the Delhi border toll plaza where on an average about 1.9 lakh vehicles pass daily.
The application was filed by Aseem Takyar, an RTI activist and a local industrialist.
After the RTI revelations, various anti-toll plaza activists under the banner of Toll Hatao Sangharsh Samiti have said that the NHAI should now remove the Delhi border toll plaza.
RS Rathee of Toll Hatao Sangharsh Samiti said NHAI officials had told the samiti members the other day that the toll operator firm had collected a total of Rs640 crore by December 2011.
“As per the RTI reply, the toll operator firm has collected Rs583 crore in 43 months between January 2008 and August 2011 as against the project cost of Rs555 crore. NHAI should now take action and remove the toll plaza near Delhi border,” he said.
However, DGSCL officials have their own story.
“The project cost was initially Rs555 crore when we had signed the agreement with NHAI in 2001. Later, several government agencies came up with their demands related to more underpasses and wider flyovers. We had to made changes in the design as well as structure of the expressway and this escalated the cost of the project to Rs1,200 crore. The entire financial planning was submitted to the highway authority as well as the minister concerned,” a senior DGSCL official said.
Toll plaza to get 3 more lanes
People living along the troubled stretch of Rajiv Chowk and Kherki Daula toll plaza on the Gurgaon Expressway see a ray of hope in the expansion of the 19-lane toll plaza. The work on setting up of three more toll lanes is underway. Already on the warpath against the National Highway Authority of India for not providing crossover facilities that have allegedly caused a number of deaths, the residents said that additional number of lanes would ease the traffic congestion and provide some relief to them. Col Ratan Singh, Jafra chairman, welcomed the move.