Commuters using SPR to avoid paying toll, claims concessionaire
Gurugram The concessionaire for the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, Millennium City Expressway Private Limited (MCEPL), has alleged that since the implementation of the FASTag system, the number of vehicles passing through the Kherki Daula toll plaza has decreased and subsequently, affected revenue.
MCEPL officials have attributed the use of the Southern Peripheral Road (SPR) by commuters as the main reason for the drop in the number of vehicles crossing the toll plaza. The concessionaire has asked the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to shut the link road on SPR, so that traffic volume at the toll plaza gets normalised.
They alleged that the number of vehicles, on an average, has decreased from around 70,000 to 50-60,000 since December 15. Commuters are finding alternative routes to bypass the Kherki Daula toll plaza, MCEPL officials said.
In January, Haryana Shahari Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP) had opened the five-kilometre SPR route for residents of newer sectors to avoid jams at the toll plaza.
Hari Singh Geela, deputy manager, NHAI Jaipur, said, “It is clearly mentioned in the NHAI rules that no agency can make any competing road alongside the toll plaza. If this has happened, then the concessionaire will have to be compensated for the loss.”
Mohammad Sohrab Khan, operations head, MCEPL, said, “The number of vehicles which cross the Kherki Daula toll plaza has come down considerably since the FASTags were implemented on December 15.”
NHAI officials said that before December 15, the waiting time at Kherki Daula toll plaza was 14 minutes, which they claim is 5-10 minutes at present. “Traffic jams at the Kherki Daula toll plaza are not because there is mismanagement at our end, but because of a U-turn right before the toll plaza. Mostly heavy vehicles don’t want to pay the toll and hence, block the passage of other vehicles, causing jams, as they try to go on the SPR to avoid the toll,” said Khan.
S Raghuraman, chief executive officer, MCEPL, said, “Commuters are using the SPR as they don’t want to pay the toll or stand in the queue at the toll plaza. We were able to block traffic movement on the Northern Peripheral Road (NPR), but the NHAI officials have not been able to control the leakage on SPR.”
The concessionaire officials said that since the FASTags were launched, they have lost more than 10,000 vehicles, per day, to the SPR. “There is a clear loss of ₹3,57,242 per day because of the opening of SPR. This route bypasses the toll plaza and needs to be stopped as commuters are taking SPR just to avoid the toll. Even Gurugram police is diverting traffic from the U-turn towards the SPR so that there is no jam at the toll plaza,” said Raghuraman.
In November, Haryana Shahari Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP) had planned to seek NHAI’s (Jaipur) permission for operating the SPR. “We have hired an independent consultant to look into this matter. We will apply for permission and are hopeful that we will get full rights to operate vehicles on SPR,” said an HSVP official.
HSVP and NHAI officials from Jaipur had held a meeting in Panchkula in November, wherein it was amicably decided that the HSVP would apply for permission, as a formality. However, NHAI officials in Jaipur said that they are still awaiting HSVP’s application in this regard.