The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) and Maulik Bharat, that have been spearheading the movement against the toll charges on the DND flyway, scored a minor victory on Wednesday with the concessionaire agreeing to exempt some categories of commuters from paying the toll. The concessionaire also offered rebate on the two-way commute.
The decisions were taken at a meeting chaired by the state chief secretary Alok Ranjan and attended by a delegation of the BKU and Maulik Bharat, a non governmental organisation.
The chief secretary assured the delegation that the government will do away with the clause that the Noida Authority would have to bear the cost if DND fails to realise 20% of the total construction cost of Rs 408 crore.
"This clause was faulty and, because of this, the cost on Noida Authority has accumulated to Rs 3,000 crore till date and would touch Rs 50,000 crore by 2030 (the agreement period). That way, DND would never be toll-free and people and farmers would have to pay a toll forever,"a BKU spokesperson said.
"Now, the government has agreed to scrap the clause," he added.
Among other things that the government has agreed to do is -- a 25% discount on toll if the vehicle returns within 24 hours; no toll for vehicles used for agriculture purposes; and no toll for those vehicles (such as Armed forces vehicles, etc) that were exempt from toll under the National Highways Authority toll rules.
Maulaik Bharat national vice president capt (retd) Vikas Gupta termed the meeting a "big achievement".
"The meeting was quite fruitful. The decisions taken at Wednesday's meeting have brought a huge relief. We have got so many exemptions from the toll company," he said.
His organisation, Maulik Bharat, had on June 18 threatened to move Delhi high court if toll charges were not withdrawn from the DND flyway.
When asked about the dilution in his stand, Gupta said, "The chief secretary expressed his inability to scrap the toll charges as it was in accordance with the concessionaire agreement. Since the matter is pending before the Allahabad high court, he was unable to do much."
BKU national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said an order with regard to Wednesday's meeting will be issued after a meeting is convened by Noida Authority chairman Rama Raman next week.