The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has asked the concessionaire firm of Gurgaon Expressway to activate all faulty SOS Booths on the Gurgaon expressway by May 15. On April 26, Hindustan Times had reported that all 24 emergency help booths located on the 27.7-km-long accident prone stretch were out of operation.
The NHAI has also asked DSC limited to furnish an alternate distress calling or helpline mechanism in case the firm was not interested in maintaining the SOS booths for fear of thieves and vandals.
The highway authority has also said that it would slap a penalty on DSC Limited if it failed to correct the SOS system before the stipulated date. The penalty amount would be either 0.1 percent of the cost of the system or Rs. 10,000 which ever is more, NHAI officials said.
HT's report had highlighted the fact that of the 24 SOS booth on the expressway between RTR junction and Kherki Daula toll plaza, four had been stolen or uprooted and 20 did not work.
DSC officials had claimed that most of the SOS booths had been rendered useless as miscreants had uprooted many machines and stolen vital components. They had contended that DSC had provided an alternate but more effective helpline no — 1800-103-1700 — that commuters could call from their mobile phone sets. However, the NHAI has refused to accept this as an alternative to the booths.
“Not every commuter on the expressway need necessarily carry a mobile phone. Therefore there is a strong need for a push-button type stationary mechanism all along the expressway for commuters in distress," said R,K. Singh, chief general manager, NHAI.