The Noida Toll Bridge Company Ltd (NTBCL), the DND Flyway operator, could not increase the toll rates since April 2009, except a partial 10% hike in November 2011.
"The hike was long overdue. As the operator is incurring loss, it has increased the toll charges," said an official of the concessionaire. The operator had been asking for authority's approval to hike toll rates since September last year. But the rates could not be revised due to pressure from locals and farmers' strong agitation.
"According to the concession agreement signed between the UP government and NTBCL in 1997, the authority does not have much control over the operator's decision regarding toll hike," said a senior Noida authority official, requesting anonymity. Meanwhile, resident welfare associations and the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) have criticised the move and threatened to launch an agitation against the hike.
"Since we have dragged the operator to court and the matter is sub-judice, the operator should not have hiked the toll," said AN Dhawan, chief advisor of Noida Federation of RWAs.
"We will launch a series of agitations. We will continue with the protests till the operator does not roll back the hike. The hike is unjustified and intolerable," said Rakesh Tikait, national spokesperson, BKU.
The flyway operator decided to hike toll rates by up to 20%. As per the hiked rates, cars will have to pay Rs. 25 instead of Rs. 22, while two-wheelers will have to cough up Rs. 12 instead of Rs. 11.
"Buses and trucks will have to pay Rs. 70 instead of the earlier Rs. 55. For large vehicles with three axles, the toll has been increased from Rs. 75 to Rs. 100. The toll has been increased Rs. 95 to Rs. 130 for extra large vehicles," said Anwar Abbasi, the operator's spokesperson.