Revenue loss due to non-payment of toll, overloaded trucks damaging the road and the state government’s failure to provide land for the toll plaza expansion are the major issues that plague Haryana’s showcase toll road project — the Gurgaon-Faridabad expressway.
Despite a Supreme Court directive against overloading, trucks laden with heavy construction materials continue to move on the expressway unchecked.
The concessionaire firm, GF Toll Management, has not been able to install weighing machines due to unavailability of land, claimed officials, who are forced to operate out of a portacabin in absence of space.
Although there have been numerous dialogues between the firm and the state government, the twin issues of overloading and non-payment of toll continue to plague the project. Repeated complaints with the Haryana Public Works Department (PWD), which had awarded the project to the company, have fallen to deaf ears.
The firm’s parent company, Reliance Infrastructure, had even written to the Haryana chief minister highlighting issues such as refusal by local people to pay toll, manhandling of toll officials, overloading and damage to public property.
"Mob unrest in Gurgaon is not something new and incidents like these only weaken Haryana’s claims of being one of the most investment-friendly states of the country," said a GF Toll Management official.
The surface of the newly constructed expressway is already showing signs of damage because of the huge traffic of overloaded trucks carrying material from stone crushers and mines located in the state and neighbouring Rajasthan.
Stones from the mining areas in Haryana and Rajasthan are carried to the nearby crusher zone and then transported to Delhi, Faridabad, Gurgaon, UP and the surrounding areas.
A company official alleged that commercial vehicles carrying around two times more than the stipulated load had prematurely damaged the road as it is designed to withstand pressure of only up to a certain level.
"It may be noted that load rating is primarily based on circulars issued by the ministry of road transport and highways. There are also trucks operating without valid registration numbers or papers, thereby posing threat to security," he said.
The PWD officials, however, were not available for comment.
The operator of Gurgaon-Faridabad expressway had on Thursday alleged cop inaction in the recent vandalism cases at the Sohna toll plaza. "We had registered an FIR in the incident of attack on Sohna toll plaza in May. With regard to the last attack in June, I have directed the DCP (South) to look into the matter personally and call a meeting with the company officials," said police commissioner Alok Mittal.
DCP (South) Rahul Sharma said that efforts were underway to reach an amicable solution to the problem. "We had asked the toll management firm to make their bouncers wear uniforms, because otherwise they look like goons in plain clothes. This misconception probably triggered tiffs between the truckers and the bouncers," he said.
The company officials claimed that they had to hire bouncers following the recent attacks.