Resident welfare associations of Gurgaon have decided step up their agitation, seeking removal of the two toll plazas on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway, after National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) officials failed to bring around protesting residents. The associations said they would go ahead with their plan to organise a massive agitation on Delhi border toll plaza on Sunday.
The NHAI had called a meeting of the members of Toll Hatao Sangharsh Samiti (THSS), a residents’ group spearheading the movement, on Friday to sort out the issue. Protesters have been giving sleepless nights to Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited, the expressway firm, as they had disrupted their functioning twice last month.
The protesters even threw open the barricades giving a free run for motorists. The expressway firm had suffered huge losses on account of this.
Meanwhile, on Friday, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the Haryana Police to ensure that the agitators do not disrupt the traffic and the tolling operations on the expressway.
A spokesperson of the expressway firm said, “The court had also asked the police to file an affidavit before the court on the January 29 incident.”
The court’s direction came soon after the meeting failed to reach an amicable settlement.
“Gurgaon registered vehicles should be given free passage. Till the work on all underpasses, service lanes and foot over bridges is completed, both the toll plazas be removed and relocated out of Gurgaon Municipality limit,” said Attar Singh Sandhu, a member of the THSS. RS Rathee, the president of Gurgaon Citizen Council, said the agitation would take place was scheduled.
However, NHAI chief project director K Venkatraman said the demands raised by THSS were beyond the purview of NHAI. He said the demands have been forwarded to Ministry of Surface Transport and Highways. “We, however, have agreed to review the concession scheme being given to the residents of Gurgaon and also have given notice to DGSCL on this issue,” he said.
Col Raj Singla, a noted industrial association activist, said, “Tax should not be charged from commuters till the time the promise of providing toll-free service lanes on either side is met. Also, the 50% concession that the local commuters were to get has not been given so far. Since they had broken their promise, they don’t have the right to charge us now.”
“As the operator, we have been taking care of all the provisions laid down in the concession agreement. We are working on these issues with the relevant authorities and stakeholders so that we can together provide a safe and convenient passage to all commuters on the expressway. However, for matters beyond the scope of work like additional foot over bridges and underpasses these would need to be approved by the NHAI and we would be happy to construct these if the work order for the same is given to us,” said the DGSC spokesperson.