RS Rathee, Vice-President, Toll Hatao Sangharsh Samiti
The central government had authorised the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for the conversion of the Delhi-Gurgaon portion of National Highway-8 into an eight-lane highway along with service lanes along certain sections. A notification was issued on March 24, 1998 pursuant to Section 11 of the National Highways Authority Act, 1988.
The project was accepted by Jaiprakash Industries Ltd and DS Constructions on 31 January, 2002 for an initial cost of R555 crore or as certified by the statuary auditors. Finally, the project started from January, 2008 without proper approval and completion certificate.
It thus went ahead without facilities like underpass for every one km, foot over bridges, flyovers, proper fencing, subways for cattle/pedestrian passing, service roads, steel/concrete crash barriers on either side for local residents, seeding and planting of the access-controlled highway sites, etc.
As per NHAI’s toll policy, once a municipal corporation is formed in a city, no toll collection is allowed within a 10-km radius of the municipal limits. Two toll plazas are not allowed within 60 kilometres of each other. Moreover, a toll collection booth is always situated at the starting point of the stretch, hence toll collection at Sirhaul is illegal; it should be in Delhi.
Initially, proper average traffic flow calculation has not been done in this case. Given that lanes were designed for an average speed of 85kmph-120kmph, the traffic flow via toll lanes comes to a maximum of 120 vehicles per hour initially and 150 per hour after 10 years.