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Home / Gurugram / Gurgaon: was eway concession term too long?

Gurgaon: was eway concession term too long?

Sample this: The concessionaire of the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway has already recovered `955 crore of the `1,240 crore project cost even as it will go on collecting toll till 2023!

gurgaon Updated: Sep 10, 2013 00:56 IST
Siddhartha Rai
Siddhartha Rai
Hindustan Times

Sample this: The concessionaire of the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway has already recovered `955 crore of the `1,240 crore project cost even as it will go on collecting toll till 2023!

The issue of the 20-year concession period was first raised in the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) performance audit of the project. It had noted that the fixation of the concession period to 20 years was faulty.

While deciding upon the concession period, the agency hired to work out the timeline could not foresee the quantum of profit to be accrued by the concessionaire and pegged it at only `187.77 crore.

“If the DGSCL continues collecting toll at the same rate, it will earn nearly `2,500 crore in the next 10 years of the concession period. The rate of collection is `200 crore annually and collection will go up with the increase in the traffic volume. The NHAI should stop thinking of the money that it is making (`1.5 crore per month) and get rid of DGSCL in public interest,” said Asim Takyar, an RTI activist and an industrialist of Gurgaon.

However, concessionaire Delhi Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DGSCL) refused to comment on the issue.

Assuming a reasonable rate of return for the concessionaire, the concession period “worked out to be 14 years, whereas a concession period of 20 years has been allowed”, observed a parliamentary body in 2009.

The parliamentary panel “squarely put the blame” on the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for failing to anticipate the situation. The panel indicted the agency for “its failure to protect the interest of the hapless commuters”.

“The committee is constrained to note that such an agreement gives no respite to the commuters but only promotes the commercial interest of the NHAI and the concessionaire,” the panel observed.

In its response, the agency tried to pass on the buck to financial consultant SBI Capital Market Ltd, saying that the latter had suggested the 20-year period.

However, the MPs’ panel trashed the excuse, observing that the agency had itself failed to “conduct any fresh traffic study as advised by the financial consultant” to assess the actual revenue likely to be generated during the concession period and the expected traffic growth in the coming years.

The NHAI had tried to impress the Parliament as it boasted of ingenuity by pointing to a revenue-sharing agreement with the concessionaire when the traffic went past 1.3 lakh vehicles per day. The parliamentary panel deprecated the authority for putting its greed before the interests of commuters.

‘Toll plazas have no business of being in Gurgaon’
Expert speak: Dr SP Yadav CMD, Pushpanjali Hospital and former president of Indian Medical Association (Gurgaon Chapter)

Hindustan Times’ relentless coverage against the toll plazas on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway has created a buzz in the city and is being admired by one and all.

I am also of the point of view that these toll plazas have no business to be in the middle of this thickly populated city that has grown exponentially during the last decade. Toll plazas, located within the city limits, are not acceptable to us. It is high time that the officials of the Centre as well as the state government work out a mechanism to uproot these barriers on the fast stretch between Gurgaon and Delhi.

I do not understand why people — already paying taxes and other levies in the form of sales, income and road taxes — should also pay toll for travelling on highways?

The Sirhaul and Kherki Daula toll plazas have proved to be impediments for the smooth flow of traffic in the city.

Recently, I got stuck at the Sirhaul toll plaza for more than 40 minutes. I had to take a train for Benaras from Delhi but it took me two-and-a-half hours to reach the railway station.

Moreover, the entire stretch is very dangerous. Being close to Rajiv Chowk, our hospital gets plenty of accident victims on a regular basis — many of whom succumb to fatal injuries. The situation turns particularly ugly at Kherki Duala toll plaza during evening hours when truckers rule the roost, hardly leaving any room for other commuters. I generally get stuck for about an hour there while coming back from Rewari, where we are setting up another hospital.

I suggest that some state or Union government agency should buy out the entire project from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and make the toll plazas free for all commuters.

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