Partially modifying its September 4 order regarding stay on collection of toll fee at Delhi-Gurgaon expressway toll plaza at Sirhol, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday allowed the concessionaire, Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DGSCL) to collect toll from all vehicles from 7 pm onwards on Friday except for the peak hours in morning and evening.
The division bench headed by justice SK Mittal ordered that the concessionaire would not collect the toll fee during peak traffic hours from 8.30 am to 10 am and from 5.30 pm to 7 pm till the case comes up for hearing on October 3. However, the bench made it clear to the concessionaire, “your right to toll collection is subject to public interest”.
Considering the request of municipal corporation of Delhi (MCD), the high court had on September 20 allowed the concessionaire, on MCD’s behalf, to collect toll fee only from the commercial vehicles entering Delhi from Gurgaon.
However, the bench directed the counsel appearing for the national highway authority of India (NHAI) to get instructions from NHAI’s chairman whether it can install the device at the toll plaza which facilitates automatic vehicle counting and also how much time would the process require.
The concessionaire’s counsel informed the court that as agreed before the court earlier, the concessionaire has made all the arrangements at the toll plaza, including construction of additional road reducing 30% burden of vehicles at the toll plaza coming from Udyog Vihar side towards Delhi, installation of 13 temporary toll booths and was now clearing around 500 vehicles per hour.
The case hearing witnessed heated arguments between the counsels appearing for the concessionaire and the NHAI. NHAI’s counsel emphasized that the concessionaire should be first directed to install devices at the toll collection booths and the hand held devices need to be integrated with the main server to record the number of vehicles passing through the toll plaza.
Whereas, concessionaire’s counsel submitted that purchase of special device for the purpose would take a long time which they had already agreed to do in a meeting held with NHAI’s chairman. He added that they were ready to install the device but would need a minimum of three months’ time and if the NHAI can install the device before that, the concessionaire was ready to pay the amount.
However, NHAI’s counsel said that he was interested in installation of the device as for the first 1.30 lakh vehicles passing through the toll plaza per day, the tax collection goes into concessionaire’s account and the toll collection above 1.30 lakh vehicles is shared equally both by the concessionaire and NHAI. He alleged that the concessionaire was involved in pilferage of toll fee and was not integrating hand held devices with the main server, and also not installing the relevant device.