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Power poles block R5,000-cr Pod taxi project

india Updated: Jul 02, 2012 01:11 IST
Sunil Thapliyal

A demonstration by hundreds of local residents from the neighbouring villages demanding exemption from toll tax, brought toll plaza operations on the Gurgaon-Faridabad road to a halt for nearly half an hour on Sunday afternoon.

The villagers assembled at the plaza and demanded exemption from the toll tax firm.

“We were given the assurance that no toll would be collected from the local villagers. But for the last three days, the toll operator has been exacting toll tax from us. This is our land and we will not pay toll tax to them. The company is not keeping its promise,” said Rajveer Baliyawl, a local villager.

“We are not against the toll plaza. This facility will certainly help the people and improve infrastructure of the city, but the toll operator should give the benefit of exemption to all seven villages located near the toll plaza. We have given the toll management a deadline till Monday evening. If our demand is not meet, we will conduct a mahapanchayat where all seven villages will participate and decide the way forward,” added Baliyawl.

Toll collection was to start from March end, for which Reliance Infrastructure Limited (RIL) had applied on March 25 itself.

However, the PWD had turned down the concessionaire’s application on grounds of incomplete works on the 23.4-km road, which starts from the Faridabad border — near Bandhwari — and goes up to Bristol Chowk, near Sikandarpur in Gurgaon.

For the previous delay, the public works department (PWD) had held the concessionaire responsible.

“We are happy to complete the widening of the road and start the operations of our sixth road project to ensure smooth traffic flow from Gurgaon to Faridabad and Ballabhgarh to Sohna,” ,” said Lalit Jalan, CEO, RIL.

“This will increase commuting convenience and connect centres of tourism, international airport, industrial zones and places of economic importance,” added Jalan.

“Some sections of the corridor with dangerous curves and steep rises have been realigned. The corridor will witness approximately 36,000 vehicles per day and the traffic count is expected to double in the next five years,” he further said.

“Reliance Infrastructure is only a concessionaire that has built the Gurgaon-Faridabad road and is operating it as per the norms laid by the Haryana government. We are not in a position to comment on the justification of the local villagers’ demand for tax exemption. It is for the Haryana government to decide the fate of their demands,” said a spokesperson of RIL.

“As per our contract with the government, there is no provision of toll exemption for locals. However, two wheelers and tractors with trolley carrying agricultural goods are exempted from the toll charges. Commuters travelling by car or three-wheelers need to pay R15 for a single trip journey and R22.50 for a two-way trip,” he added.