At least for the next four days, all vehicles, except commercial, passing through Delhi-Gurgaon expressway toll plaza at Sirhol would remain exempted from paying toll fee as the division bench headed by chief justice AK Sikri of the Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday recused from hearing the case and transferred the matter to some other bench.
The case would now come up for hearing on Friday before some other division bench, which is not headed by the chief justice.
The high court had on September 4 restrained the concessionaire, Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DGSCL) from collecting toll tax. Whereas, accepting the request of municipal corporation of Delhi (MCD), the high court, on September 20, had allowed the concessionaire, on behalf of MCD, to collect toll fee only from the commercial vehicles entering Delhi from Gurgaon.
On the earlier directions of the high court former chief justice Mukul Mudgal, who was appointed as the court commissioner, submitted his report before the court after an inspection at the toll plaza site on September 23.
He submitted that it was the need of the hour to have a permanent co-ordination committee comprising of Haryana Uraban Development Authority (HUDA), national highway authority of India (NHAI), concessionaire, traffic police and the local residents welfare association in order to ensure smooth functioning of the toll plaza.
Justice (retd) Mudgal also submitted that it was also necessary to ask the concessionaire to employ camera recognition facilities similar to the ones employed on Delhi-Noida-Delhi toll plaza to ensure smooth traffic.
The court commissioner emphasized upon widening of the road from Udyog Vihar in order to divert traffic eventually merging with the traffic coming from Gurgaon, at least in so far as the land in Haryana is concerned. For this, he suggested the bench to issue appropriate directions to the state authorities to release the land. He said that the land is lying waste and not being utilized at all.
He also said that the hand held devices need to be integrated with the server to record the number of vehicles passing through the toll plaza and a total number of 13 temporary toll booths need to be made permanent on an urgent basis.
The court commissioner also forwarded the representation received by him from the Toll Hatao Sangarsh Samiti to the court. The samiti in its representation has submitted that the Sirhol toll plaza is designed for a maximum of 150 vehicles per hour, after 10 years, which come to 1.15 lakh vehicles per day in 32 lanes. However, as on date about 2.50 lakh vehicle are crossing the toll plaza every day. Since it is not possible to double the width of the toll plaza and the number of vehicles increasing with each passing day, the toll plaza is not viable at the spot and there is a need to explore other avenues.
It was also submitted that as per the agreement, the government was bound to construct another road between Delhi and Gurgaon once the number of vehicles crossing the toll plaza exceeded 1.70 lakhs per day, which has not been done till date.
The court commissioner also suggested that clear signages starting from at least a kilometer from the toll plaza should indicate the cash and tag lanes and notices should be put that cash customers entering the tag lanes are liable to be penalized. Justice(retd.) Mudgal also mentioned that it was also necessary to immediately construct footpath and over bridges.