If all goes well in the Delhi High Court, in a month-and-a-half time from now, commuters who have been braving the massive traffic snarls on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway and clamouring for a toll free ride might finally see their demand fulfilled.
Infrastructure finance company IDFC, the chief financiers for the project informed the Delhi High Court on Monday that all the senior lenders have finally come on board to its proposal to substitute the current developer with a new company and remove the first toll plaza, located on the Delhi-Gurgaon border, on the 28 km expressway. Almost two lakh vehicles cross the toll plaza at the border every day.
Once the first toll plaza is removed, commuters will have to pay toll – which will be double the amount that they paid earlier -- only at the second toll plaza at Kherki Dhaula which goes to Manesar and Jaipur.
IDFC’s counsel informed the court that once the new company takes over, all claims and legal proceeding against the Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DGSCL), the current operator will be withdrawn.
“The senior lender are agreeable to take on the obligation as set out in the MoU dated September 18, 2012 and restrict the tolling to just the toll booth at km 42,” IDFC has said in its affidavit.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which has earlier served termination notice to DGSCL for violating the terms of the contract, told the court that it wants some time to peruse the terms of IDFC’s settlement proposal. Justice Manmohan Singh gave a week time to NHAI to come up with its decision on February 3, when the case is posted for hearing.
Sources in the highways ministry said that NHAI is likely to agree to IDFC’s settlement proposal. If that happens and the court accepts it, the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway will finally become toll free.
According to NHAI, making the expressway toll free won’t have big financial implications on whoever runs the project. NHAI officials on conditions of anonymity said that IDFC would be easily able to recover the amount from the revenue generated from collecting toll from the Kherki Dhaula plaza.
Currently, DGSCL, the expressway operator earns approximately Rs 18 crore every month as revenue from the two toll plazas.