The removal of the Delhi-border toll plaza on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway is sure to give renewed enthusiasm to the residents of National Capital Region (NCR) cities such as Faridabad and Noida who have for long been demanding that all toll plazas in the NCR should go.
In Faridabad, residents led by the Confederation of Residents' Welfare Associations of Faridabad, an umbrella body of about 90 RWAs, staged a protest demonstration a few days ago at the Sarai Kwaja toll plaza, demanding its immediate removal. "We have made it an issue. On Sunday, we held a protest at Sarai Kwaja and our voice has started growing louder. The issue of the removal of all the toll plazas here is reaching all the authorities concerned, right from the chief minister of Haryana to the Union road transport and highways minister," said Asha Sharma, president of RWA, Sector 37, Faridabad.
Across the border in Noida, the Confederation of National Capital Region Residents' Welfare Associations (CONRWA), a citizens' group, welcomed the Centre's move and reiterated its long-standing demand of removal of all the toll plazas in NCR.
"Toll plazas like the one on DND Flyway at Noida-Delhi border, Dasna toll plaza on NH-24 in UP, the toll in Daurala on NH-58 in Meerut and others should be immediately removed as these fall within the municipal limits and lead to traffic jams," said PS Jain, president of CONRWA.
While Wednesday's order will free Gurgaon of one of its three toll plazas, neighbouring Faridabad still has to grapple with four — one on the Faridabad-Gurgaon road, one on Sohna-Ballabgarh Road, one on National Highway-2 near Palwal, and another at Sarai Kwaja near Badarpur. "Faridabad has been made a tax collection centre and the residents and the commuters are being forced to fill the government coffers," said NK Garg, president, Confederation of Residents' Welfare Association of Faridabad.
In Noida, a group of residents on January 26 met with the Union road transport minister, Oscar Fernandes, and Congress leader Ajay Maken demanding removal of all the toll booths from NCR towns like Ghaziabad, Hapur, Meerut and Gurgaon, among others.
"We had launched our 'Toll-free campaign' from Republic Day by meeting Oscar Fernandes, who has assured us of coming up with a fresh policy that ensures speedy widening of NH-24," said Jain of CONRWA.
The residents of Faridabad have decided to go a step further in their protests. "We face so many questions from the residents, but we are helpless as the government has almost gheored us with these plazas. Our next dharna site will be Jantar Mantar," said Garg of the Confederation of Residents' Welfare Association of Faridabad.