The verdict from the residents of the National Capital Region of Delhi is clear. Fed up with wasting their precious time endlessly waiting to cross the two toll plazas – Sirhaul and Kherki Dhaula on the 28km Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway for over five years now since 2008, they want the toll plazas to be removed. Commuters want their travelling woes to end forever.
Apart from demonstrations and litigations, if repeated and forced lifting of boom barriers at the toll plazas and letting vehicles cross without paying toll is any indication, toll plazas are all set to go through the acid test in Gurgaon, especially when the patience of the commuters. The stretch has about 2.5 lakh inter-state and intra-city toll-able vehicles plying daily.
HT's ongoing campaign - Taking a toll on your commute time, which started on July 29 and received over 30,000 physical and digital petitions, has moved the conscience of the top brass of the Union and Haryana governments, and both have now decided to put in their efforts to shift the toll plaza beyond Manesar, making the commute between Delhi and Gurgaon toll free.
On Tuesday it was decided in a crucial meeting of Haryana top brass led by Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and union minister for road transport & highways Oscar Fernandes that NHAI and the union ministry will request the attorney general to appear on behalf of the government of India to persuade the Delhi high court to vacate the stay order against the termination of the agreement ordered by NHAI.
After HT met Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda recently and handed over petitions signed by thousands of commuters, he had said, "I'm going to talk to union minister for road transport and highways Oscar Fernandes on this subject. Hopefully Gurgaon residents will get relief soon."
Fernandes also lauded the efforts of the Hindustan Times team for carrying out relentless news campaign on Gurgaon Expressway when HT met him to hand over petitions addressed to him by thousands of disgruntled commuters.
Echoing the sentiments of the disgruntled commuters, the elected representatives, including Mayor of Gurgaon Vimal Yadav said, "We are dead against these toll plazas and wish these to go from Gurgaon expressway at the earliest as public anger is running out of patience that has resulted into protests, traffic jams on expressway and freeing the tolls plazas several times in the past one and a half months. We want the government take needful steps."