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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

Blocking expressway roads to cost offenders more

cities Updated: Nov 14, 2019 20:23 IST
Rohit David
Rohit David

Gurugram The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is planning to impose a penalty of ₹5,000 to ₹21,500 on people parking vehicles illegally on Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, after the Centre issued a notification in September, asking the authority to regulate traffic on the highways. The NHAI has also proposed to penalise owners of animals, found straying on the expressway, ₹12,500.

The new penalty will be implemented after the proposed quantum of fines is approved by the NHAI headquarters in Delhi, officials familiar with the matter said. “The enforcement provisions have been given to us by the Central government. We sent a list of the proposed fines to the chairperson earlier this month for approval. We will start implementing these rules on the expressway after the approval comes through,” an NHAI official said.

NHAI officials said that between the highways authority’s office at Sirhaul and Kherki Daula toll plaza, there are many cabs which are seen parked on the roads, waiting idly. Officials said that they need to be cleared so that there is no obstruction to the flow of traffic on the expressway. “We are going to pick up any vehicle blocking the flow of traffic on the expressway. The vehicles that are parked all along the expressway occupy one or two lanes of the expressway and at times, are the main cause of traffic jam,” a senior NHAI official said.

The highways authority will also pick up any animal they find obstructing the flow of traffic on the expressway. “Cows, camels and buffaloes are seen roaming the city and even move around the expressway. A hefty fine of ₹12,500 has been proposed on animal owners, as the straying animals compound traffic problems as they tend to move around,” the NHAI official said.

The fines for animals only apply for bigger animals (cows and buffaloes) and not for smaller ones such as dogs or cats. Before the proposal to tow away cars and animals, the NHAI only towed away ice-cream hawkers or food hawkers.

The highways authority has also formulated a plan for booking the owners of vehicles and animals. “The vehicles or animals will be picked up by the NHAI’s concessionaire, in association with the local traffic police. On receipt of information of an unauthorised parked vehicle or animal, the NHAI team will reach the spot and tow the same. The highway officials will paste a notice of obstruction on the car and take photographs before towing it away,” an NHAI official said.

The highway administrator, i.e., the project director of a particular area will send a quarterly report on the vehicles that have been towed to the chairman of the NHAI.

In addition to the fines, NHAI will also charge fines formulated by GMDA for towing of vehicles. “We will also be charging ₹500 for cars, ₹1,000 for animals, ₹200 for scooters and motorcycles, ₹1,000 for trucks and buses, and ₹2,000 for truck-tractor and truck-trailers, as towing charges,” the NHAI official said.

The NHAI will also charge offenders ₹50, as ‘idling charges’, per hour, irrespective of the vehicle or animal.

Two sites have been identified by the NHAI, where they are going to keep the vehicles towed away in the city. “There is a one-acre plot at Hero Honda Chowk and a three-acre one at Sirhaul toll, where vehicles or animals can easily be kept,” the NHAI official said. The highways authority will form a team to call the car owners and if they don’t turn up within seven days, the NHAI will auction off the vehicle or animal.

The Central government, on September 16, had issued a notification giving out the powers and functions of the highway administration under the National Highways (land and traffic) Act 2002, including sections 24 (prevention of occupation of highway land), 26 (removal of unauthorised occupation), 27 (recovery of cost of removal of unauthorised occupation and fine imposed), 30 (regulation or diversion of access), 33 (temporary closure of traffic on highway), 36 (prevention and repair of damage to highway), 37 (prohibition to leave vehicles or animals in dangerous position) and 43 (conduct of inquiry).