Winning a lone battle doesn’t always translate into victory in the war, but the Delhi High Court’s order to dismantle the Sirhaul toll plaza will surely motivate the anti-toll groups here to go the extra mile and ensure the removal of the Kherki Daula gate as well.
With the Delhi-border plaza on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway becoming history on Wednesday night, Toll Hatao Sangharsh Samiti, the citizens’ body that has waged a long war against the two toll plazas, celebrated the victory, but at the same time hailed it as incomplete.
Vice-president of the organisation RS Rathee is still anxious over the Kherki Daula toll plaza and its detrimental influence over market and industry. “As one has gone, our focus will now shift completely to getting the other toll plaza scrapped. We have always maintained a legal position wherein tolling cannot go on within the municipal limits of a city and the Kherki toll plaza still violates that,” said Rathee.
“As Sirhaul is no more, the Kherki toll plaza will create a very negative atmosphere for the real estate on the other side of this plaza. The Manesar industrial belt will get negatively impacted as the toll across this plaza is also set to rise,” he added.
An executive member of the samiti, Poonam Bhatnagar, said, “This is a big achievement for all of us. Though it is a matter of jubilation, the struggle has not ended as we have just achieved half of what we intended to when we started. Next is Kherki Daula toll plaza. This toll plaza will now bear the brunt of the removal of the plaza at Sirhaul, which will continue to bleed the commuters.”
A former Haryana Urban Development Authority administrator who now runs an NGO in the name of People’s Voice, SP Gupta, termed the development as a battle half won. “We will soon launch a movement to remove the Kherki Daula toll plaza,” he said.
The agitators are likely to get the support of the Haryana government in their continued struggle, if recent developments are anything to go by. The principal secretary, public works department (building and roads), Sanjeev Kaushal, said the state government welcomed the removal of the toll plaza as this would ease the flow of traffic between Delhi and Gurgaon, and would give much-needed relief to the commuters.
“However, we firmly believe that the continuation of the toll plaza at Kherki Daula (at 42-KM) will hinder smooth traffic movement between Gurgaon and Manesar because the right of way at Kherki Daula was limited. It is better to shift the toll plaza at Bilaspur (61-KM) as already suggested by the Haryana government. We are waiting for a copy of the court order. We will examine the same to decide whether to challenge it in an appropriate court,” said Kaushal.