The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) will have no objection if the Haryana government plans to acquire the Kherki Daula toll plaza, the highways authority chairman Raghav Chandra said on Saturday. However, as a contractor, the NHAI will ensure that the concessionaire, who has invested a large sum in building this highway, is compensated adequately.
Chandra said that the issue is primarily between the Haryana government and concessionaire MCEPL. “Nothing is impossible and it can be worked out. Potential and latent profits, and expenditure incurred by the concessionaire will have to be calculated as per the agreement,” he said.
The Haryana government has been planning to acquire the Kherki Daula toll plaza and chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar has taken up this issue with Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari. On December 19 last year, a high-level meeting of all stakeholders was held in Chandigarh to discuss the proposed acquisition.
Though the Haryana government has proposed this plan at various forums, the NHAI has not received a formal proposal in this regard, Chandra said. “We will not come in the way for sure if the state government plans a buyback of Kherki Daula toll plaza,” he said.
As per the highway concessionaire’s rough calculations, the government will have to pay over Rs 2,000 crore to acquire this toll plaza as they have toll collection rights till May 2023. It is because of this huge cost involved that the state government is contemplating over constructing a bypass or getting the local cars exempted from paying toll.
Till the time the Haryana government finds a way forward, the existing operations need to improve. For this, the NHAI will push for an increase in the use of smart tags on Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, commit more resources to the toll plaza, and bring in CISF for traffic enforcement if adequate police force is not available. “We plan to rope in an agency that pushes the use of tags. Work on underpasses and elevated u-turns will be taken on priority,” he said.
Mentioning HT’s ‘Taking a Toll’ campaign, the NHAI chief agreed that there was a strong need to improve the traffic condition, particularly on the service roads and at important junctions.