Ambiguity over the toll exemption rules —who should pay and who should not — have often sparked arguments, often leading to fisticuffs, at the Kherki Daula toll plaza. That is one of the main reasons that people living around the toll plaza want the government to either shift the booth or scrap it.
Last week, a group of villagers marched to the toll plaza after a local youth was asked to prove his identity for claiming exemption.
According to the rule, for exemption from toll, the vehicle should be registered locally or in the name of a village resident.
The matter was settled after the intervention of the police, but such incidents are a routine affair here, said Dharmender Yadav, a social activist from Manesar.
Villagers allege that very few free smart tags have been issued to them. They said the problem arises when toll agents ask for two documents – a personal ID card and car registration documents.
Locals said they want the toll plaza to go and the freeway character of the expressway to change.
“This road should be made accessible to us. There should be traffic signals and pelican lights. Also, the service lanes should be integrated with the main carriageway,” said Rambir, head of Narsinghpur village.
“There are a lot of people in nearby villages who have bought cars recently or have been gifted one. These cars are not registered locally. So when villagers want to drive them on the expressway, toll operators do not allow the exemption. This leads to arguments and fights,” Yadav said.
Locals said the toll plaza is not the only trouble. The fact that the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway divides the villages into two parts is also a major problem for them.
Udayvir, head of Khandsa village on the western side of the expressway, said absence of an underpass or flyover makes travelling very difficult for them.
“The cremation ground of Khandsa village is on the other side of the highway but there is no way to reach it. Unfortunately, youths of the village have to block the main carriageway whenever a body has to be taken to the cremation ground,” he said.
“We have also lost access to our agricultural fields,” said another villager.
“There is anger among villagers because they lost access to schools, sports grounds and other facilities but got nothing even though their land was acquired for constructing the expressway,” said Ashok, head of Naharpur Rupa village.
Rajesh Yadav, a social activist from Badshahpur, said people of Gurgaon have already paid enough for the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, which was built on wrong traffic projections.
“People are being forced to pay double the toll after the Sirhaul plaza was removed to provide relief to commuters from Delhi,” he said.
Poor condition of service roads, long traffic jams, frequent accidents and arguments are the major problems that villagers face.
Residents of 55 villages from Gurgaon last month held a mahapanchyat to press for the removal of the toll plaza.
Villagers say till the toll plaza is shifted, all vehicles registered in Gurgaon should be exempted from paying the toll. They also want pedestrian bridges and underpasses constructed on National Highway-8.
“There are traffic jams at Kherki Daula every day. Fights break out often as villagers who are exempted from the toll, are asked to pay up,” said Rao Abhay Singh, who chaired the mahapanchayat. Villagers said if no action is taken soon, they will block the traffic.
S Raghuraman, CEO of concessionaire MCEPL, however, said they have exempted residents of most of the villages from paying the toll after discussing the matter with the district administration.
“We only want people to show documents to claim the exemption and there is no question of any harassment,” he said.