The 5 lakh commuters spending precious chunks of their time at the near-daily traffic snarls at the Gurgaon toll plaza will have to wait about two months for any relief.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on Monday told the Delhi high court that the settlement proposal submitted last week by expressway operator DGSCL (Delhi Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited) and its chief financier IDFC (Infrastructure Development Finance Company) to exit the project was incomplete as it did not take into consideration all issues related to the case.
The Delhi high court — hearing a case between the NHAI and DGSCL since 2012 — has given two weeks to DGSCL and IDFC to come up with a final settlement.
The highways authority also informed the court that if all bankers involved in the project were ready to accept the settlement proposal that IDFC submitted in May 2013, it was willing to settle the dispute once and for all. In the proposal, IDFC suggested that the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway could be made toll free if the toll plaza was removed from Gurgaon city limits and shifted to Kherki Dhaula.
The counsel appearing for IDFC, however, sought some time to bring the other financiers of the project onboard with the May 2013 proposal.
The case has now been posted for hearing on January 27.
NHAI officials, on condition of anonymity, said that it would take a minimum of two months for the expressway to become toll free even after IDFC gets all bankers on board and the dispute is settled.
“The logistics need to be worked out. For instance will IDFC bear the financial liability after the first toll plaza is removed? NHAI has made it very clear that it won’t bear the cost. Also, once IDFC takes over the project how does it plan to run it? Will it set up a company? The details are not clear,” said an official.
DGSCL and IDFC are entangled in a legal battle over the expressway project with NHAI since 2012 after the latter issued a termination notice to DGSCL for violating terms of its contract. This included the concessionaire’s failure to decongest the expressway, failure to finalise the expressway’s operation and maintenance programme and fraud in obtaining financial assistance to the tune of Rs 1597 crore without NHAI’s approval.