RFID machines calibrated at Kherki Daula toll plazaUpdated: Dec 04, 2019 22:24 IST
Gurugram: The radio-frequency identification (RFID) machines at the Kherki Daula toll plaza were calibrated on all the 25 lanes of the toll plaza on Monday to allow the passage of both free tag and FASTag users, said an official of Millennium City Expressway Private Limited (MCEPL), the concessionaire of Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway. Free tags (also known as Pass Tags) are used by residents of 31 nearby villages, who are exempted from paying toll.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) official said that MCEPL has taken this decision on its own and that free access through the toll plaza has been given by the concessionaire and not by the NHAI. “MCEPL has given free access to the residents of the 31 exempted villages and the NHAI is not involved in this decision in any capacity,” said a senior NHAI official.
The concessionaire said that all machines at Kherki Daula toll plaza have been calibrated to accept both Pass Tags and FASTags and the residents of the 31 exempted villages will not face any difficulty while crossing the toll plaza from December 15 onwards, when Fastags will become mandatory.
S Raghuraman, CEO, MCEPL, said, “On December 1, we had a meeting with officials of NHAI, Gurugram, where we told the highway officials that villagers who have free tags in their cars will continue to pass through without any hindrance.”
The free tags were given by MCEPL in 2015 after protests by local villages, who opposed paying toll at Kherki Daula. MCEPL officials said that if any villager wants to buy FASTags they can do so, as Pass Tags will only work at Kherki Daula toll plaza. “The RFID machines at the toll plaza have been calibrated in such a way that any villager can take the FASTag lanes and their free tags will work just fine. However, the free tags will only work at Kherki Daula toll plaza. If these villagers want to go through any other toll plaza, then they will have to buy FASTags,” said Raghuraman.
The NHAI in November had made it clear through a letter sent to MCEPL that free tags were issued by the concessionaire and not by them. “Free access to the toll plaza was given by MCEPL and they will have to look into what they want to do with the villagers who were exempted in 2015,” read the letter, a copy of which is currently in possession of HT.
MCEPL official said that like every month they will continue to ask the state government to compensate them for the exemptions given. “We are going to ask the state government to compensate us for the losses incurred by us due to the exemptions given to 31 villages. The only reason why villagers have been exempted again is because we don’t want any ruckus at the toll plaza,” said Raghuraman.
Meanwhile residents of these villages seemed elated with this decision. Jitender Kumar, a resident of Sikanderpur, said, “This decision has been taken in our favour so that villages which are located near the toll plaza don’t face any issues. A few villagers met the toll operator (Skylark) last week and demanded that we should not be stopped when FASTag comes into force.” Residents of the newly developed sectors (79-113) have also demanded for a similar exemption from paying the toll. Residents have argued that since they too reside next to the toll plaza they should be eligible for a similar exemption. Praveen Malik, vice-president of United Association of New Gurugram, a group of New Gurugram residents, said, “MCEPL should allow the new sector residents to also move freely, as the villages that are exempted from toll are located around where most of us live.”
In 2015, after protests, residents of 31 nearby villages had gone to court against MCEPL, asking for free access to the Kherki Daula toll plaza. Anish John, system manager, MCEPL, said, “We are abiding by the Punjab and Haryana High Court order of 2015, which said that villages near the toll plaza should be given free access. Therefore, if residents of the newly developed sectors want the same access, they should also move the court.”