The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has washed its hands of the 100 accidental deaths reported on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway since last January.
It says the responsibility to operate and maintain the 27.7 km stretch lies with DSC Limited, the concessionaire company that is supposed to take all reasonable precautions to prevent accidents.
NHAI project director A.K. Singh said this response to an RTI application filed by K.S Anand, the father of Rahul Anand (19) who died in an accident near IFFCO Chowk on the Gurgaon Expressway on March 7.
“The independent consultant had issued provisional completion certificate to the concessionaire company on January 23, 2008, and since then the operation and maintenance of the Gurgaon Expressway has been its responsibility as per the terms laid in the concession agreement signed between NHAI and the company,” the RTI reply said.
The NHAI gets a share of the toll tax collected on the expressway.
DSC Limited, which also manages traffic movement on the expressway, said it had taken all the necessary precautions on the stretch for the safety of commuters.
“Some of these investments (on safety) comprise installation of 1,400 signages on the entire length of the expressway, a full-fledged corridor control and safety team of around 200 personnel and 300 traffic marshals working 24X7 and three dedicated fully-equipped ambulances stationed at key locations on the expressway which are available round the clock,” a DSC spokesperson said in a written statement.
The statement said it was “unfortunate that despite taking these measures pedestrians, motorcyclists and four-wheeler drivers don’t adhere to laws”. “In the wake of recent incidents, we had also urged NHAI and other competent authorities to construct more foot over bridges for the safety of pedestrians and users,” it said.
The stretch between RTR-Palam junction (New Delhi) and 42nd Milestone (Gurgaon) was handed over to Jaypee DSC Ventures Limited last January. Commuters had started paying toll from January 25, 2008.
In his application filed with the NHAI, K.S. Anand had asked the authorities to explain who was responsible for providing the necessary infrastructure and provisions for the safety of commuters.
Anand said neither the NHAI nor DSC could evade responsibility as both shared the toll tax collections.
Singh said the toll collected for vehicles beyond the first 1.3 lakh each day was shared equally between the NHAI and DSC.