HT’s ongoing campaign to push for the removal of the toll plazas on Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway got a thumbs-up from the political quarters on Tuesday. The elected representatives of Gurgaon, blurring party lines, joined the anti-toll chorus and demanded that the plazas be shifted beyond Gurgaon.
Keeping aside their personal and political rivalries, the elected representatives of Gurgaon have unanimously declared that they would go to any extent of protest, demonstration and representation to the Haryana government, the Union government and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) if the tolls are not shifted from Gurgaon soon.
“Why should we pay toll? We are not supposed to pay extra money for movement in our own town and district. The residents are forced to pay toll twice on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway every day,” said Rao Inderjit Singh, Member of Parliament, Gurgaon, adding that if needed he would lead the protest.
Ever since the toll plazas came into existence in 2008, Singh has raised his voice against the toll system with an aim to bring respite to the people of Gurgaon. Way back in November, 2011, Rao had arranged for the then NHAI chairman, AK Upadhyay, to visit the expressway just to make him aware of the commuting problems there.
“I have also raised the issue in Parliament twice and spoken with all the influential persons in the Union government regarding this,” said the Lok Sabha MP. Meanwhile, local MLA Rao Dharampal told Hindustan Times that he had discussed this issue with Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
“We are of the view that the tolls should be shifted beyond Manesar. Thousands commute in the Delhi-Gurgaon-Manesar route and the toll plazas are a big headache for them,” said Dharampal.
Dharampal added that the matter had been discussed with Union minister of road transport and highways Oscar Fernandes as well.
There was only one toll plaza — about 25 km from Gurgaon (towards Jaipur), somewhere near Bilaspur — on National Highway before the ones at Sirhaul and Kherki Daula were made operational in January, 2008.
“Shifting the toll from Bilaspur to Kherki Daula was a big mistake and it should be re-shifted immediately to pacify the commuters,” said the MLA.
Former MLA Dharambir Gaba said that the toll tax was an unnecessary liability for people who were already burdened with road tax, service tax and several other taxes. “This is exploitation of innocent people and both the tolls should be removed at the earliest; people are fast running out of patience,” said Gaba.