2 toll plazas shut, passengers seek lower bus fares

  • Jatinder Kohli, Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
  • Updated: Sep 15, 2014 14:32 IST

After two toll plazas on the Jalandhar-Chandigarh highway in Nawanshahr district were closed late Friday, the demand for reducing the bus fare has grown among passengers as they still continue to pay the same amount of money for travel.

Though those who travel in their own vehicles might have got respite after the toll plazas were shut, hundreds of passengers who travel from Jalandhar to Nawanshahr and Jalandhar to Chandigarh everyday in buses are paying Rs 60 and Rs 155 respectively as fare which they were paying before Friday midnight.

Now, the road has been declared the National Highway-44.

Information gathered from public works department reveals that the 81-km stretch from Phagwara to Ropar on the Jalandhar-Chandigarh highway was given to Rohan-Rajdeep Private Limited by the state government under seven-year contract.

The road was handed over to the firm in September 2007 for operation and maintenance of the stretch.

The company had established two toll plazas — one at Behram and second at Kathgarh — in Nawanshahr district and were charging toll from vehicles, except two-wheelers.

Motorists were paying Rs 35 for one time and Rs 56 for two-time crossing for cars, jeeps and auto-rickshaws. Rs 104 (one-time crossing) and Rs 166 (two-time crossings) were charged from buses and trucks.

Nancy, a commuter from Nawanshahr to Jalandhar, said the government should immediately reduce the fare to give relief passengers.

“Shutting of the plazas is a big relief to those travelling in cars on the stretch. But those travelling in buses have not got any respite,” she further said.

Roshan Lal, a social activist, said the company had failed to carry any patchwork on potholes near Chandigarh Chowk and the road is in a bad condition.

He said the road has been declared a national highway and motorists, especially two-wheeler drivers, will have an easy ride in the city after the authorities concerned will remove these potholes.

He also demanded that the police should also depute traffic policemen on the road so that the problems of over speeding could be tackled to reduce number of accidents.

When contacted, state transport minister Ajit Singh Kohar said, “I will ask officials to review bus fare on this road after toll plazas have been closed to benefit commuters.”

“It is difficult to do since bus fares depend on the rate of diesel,” Kohar added.

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