Thousands of residents, egged on by RWAs and other NGOs, on Sunday staged a massive protest demanding removal of one of the two toll plazas on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway. The protesters threw open the barriers and allowed commuters to cross the Delhi border toll plaza.
The main grouse of the residents is that for a distance of 18 km, Delhi-Gurgaon Supper Connectivity Limited, the firm that operates the expressway, was charging commuters twice over by operating two toll gates - one at Delhi border and another at Kherki Daula.
The protest was peaceful. The protesters reached the window of tax booths and stopped the toll agents from collecting fee from the commuters.
A protester said, "As per the toll policy for national highway, the distance between two toll plazas should be at least 65km. But in the Gurgaon expressway two plazas are separated by just 24km. For a person who is going to Manesar from Delhi will have to pay toll fee twice. This is unjustified."
"They should do away with one of the toll plazas," said a protester. Organisations such as Gurgaon Citizen Council, JAFRA, Saheed Smarak Committee, Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, Zila Sainik Board and RWAs took part in the demonstration.
The residents were also unhappy with the facilities provided by the expressway firm. According to them, it takes lot of time to cross a toll plaza as it is always crowded. "The firm is interested only in making money. Even ambulances have to wait for as long as half-an-hour or more at times," said BD Pahuja, secretary of sector 14 RWA.
However, the firm dismissed the claims of the protesters. A DGSCL official said, "The Delhi-Gurgaon expressway is the busiest expressway in the country with close to 2,00,000 vehicles passing on it daily. Due to sheer increase in the traffic volume, there have been instances of congestion on the expressway and we are putting in our best efforts as well as working closely with the authorities on this. We have highly trained toll collectors to minimise transaction time at the toll window.”