Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s principal secretary Anita Singh has written to the Noida authority asking it to order an audit of the operator of the Delhi Noida Direct (DND) Flyway. In her letter to Noida authority chief executive officer (CEO) Rama Raman, she said that a fair audit of the NTBCL be conducted by the comptroller and auditor general (CAG). She added that the authority must attempt to remove clauses in favour of NTBCL in its agreement with the company and make the expressway completely toll-free.
The move comes as a boost to residents of Noida, Greater Noida and other areas of the national capital region (NCR) who have been demanding for the past three years that the DND Flyway be made toll-free.
This is the first time that the Uttar Pradesh government has taken up the matter this way and ordered for an audit of NTBCL accounts on the basis of residents’ allegations.
However, Noida authority CEO Raman said, “The DND toll matter is in the high courts of Allahabad and Delhi. As the matter is sub judice, the Noida authority cannot take any decision that will amount to contempt of court. However, the authority supports the public movement in this regard.”
Earlier, in November 2015, Gujarat governor Om Prakash Kohli, who often visits his house in Noida, had spoken to Uttar Pradesh governor Ram Naik and had later sent a letter too, on residents’ demand. The letter had details of controversial clauses in the agreement signed between NTBCL and Noida authority.
“I had a word with the Uttar Pradesh governor in this regard after Noida residents, led by former Noida MLA Nawab Singh Nagar, had met me and handed over a letter demanding an audit and removal of toll on DND Flyway,” Kohli had said at the time.
Speaking on the issue, Nagar said, “Yes, we have been demanding an audit of NTBCL’s accounts. Whenever we spoke with the Noida authority, officials told us that the matter is sub judice. However, an audit can still be ordered. It will help the court and the people know what is wrong in the operation of the toll on DND.”
According to Nagar, in the agreement between Noida authority and NTBCL signed in 1997 there is a clause that the company has to make a profit of 20% a year and recover its cost of construction. “However, ever since the toll collection started, the NTBCL has only shown a deficit. This is what we want to be examined,” he said.
Declining to say anything on the issue, an NTBCL spokesperson said, “The matter is in the high courts at Delhi and Allahabad and it is improper to comment.”