The Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) on Wednesday said it has decided not to allow Jaypee Infratech, the operator of the 165-km Yamuna Expressway, to hike the toll for users. The authority said the decision was taken as the operator did not adhere to the road safety guidelines suggested by the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI).
The operator is allowed to hike the toll by up to 10% annually. The entry-restricted high-speed corridor connects Delhi with Agra.
“We have rejected the toll hike proposal sent by the operator on the grounds that it has not adhered to the road safety guidelines suggested by the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI). The operator is yet to implement 50% of road safety suggestions made by CRRI, a central government agency,” said Arun Veer Singh, chief executive officer (CEO) of YEIDA.
At present, one has to pay Rs. 363 for cars and other light motor vehicles for a one-way journey from Delhi to Agra, Rs. 559.25 for light commercial vehicles or mini buses and `1,155 for buses and trucks.
According to YEIDA, 2,194 accidents took place on the expressway between August 2012 and April 2015. The main causes of the accidents are speeding, not driving in lanes and overloading of heavy vehicles, among others.
As per the provisions laid down in the rules and regulations 2010, the operator can increase toll every year. New rates are supposed to be effective from April 1 each year, officials said. The operator hiked toll in January 2015.
In December 2014, YEIDA roped in CRRI to conduct a safety audit on the Yamuna expressway after frequent accidents were reported on the road. The YEIDA gave time to the operator to implement the suggestions.
A team of experts conducted an inspection in November 2015 to verify whether the safety suggestions are being adhered to. The team gave the operator one month to implement the safety norms.
According to CRRI suggestions, the operator was supposed to take steps for levelling bumps on underpasses on the e-way, setting up new air filling stations, building speed controllers, crash barriers and installing cameras.
A Jaypee Infratech spokesperson said, “We have readied three nitrogen pressure filling stations, installed 20 more CCTV cameras and tried to adhere to most of the suggestions made by the CRRI. Crash barrier will be built later when the number of commuters using the e-way goes up to 20,000 every day.”
The spokesperson said accidents on the expressway take place because of the absence of police personnel on the road.
“We have adhered to all suggestions made by the CRRI. The operator has the legal authority to hike the toll annually,” the spokesperson said.
Arun Veer Singh said, “The operator has not constructed a ramp at the end of e-way towards Agra. Instead of four, the operator has constructed only two exits near the Bajna area in Mathura. These suggestions are crucial to ensure safety of the motorists. If the operator does not comply with these suggestions, we will not let him hike the toll.”
YEIDA has on Friday called a meeting of top officials from six districts through which the expressway passes.