State wakes up, asks NHAI to cancel toll collection

DHNS, 28-04-2011 06:42:08

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In the wake of growing opposition to toll collection on the BIA stretch of NH-7, the State government on Wednesday stepped in and directed the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to cancel the imposition of toll until it fulfils all the conditions, including completion of the proposed elevated road on the stretch. 


However, the top brass at the NHAI has denied receiving any such directions and has stated that they have the right to collect the toll.


Speaking to reporters, Public Works Department Minister C M Udasi said the government had asked the NHAI to construct two-lane service roads on either side of the road (till trumphet interchange) and sufficient number of underpasses to ensure safe movement of pedestrians.


Besides, the NHAI was informed that it could not collect the toll until it completes the proposed elevated road on the stretch, he said.


“Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on January 15, 2008 said that the NHAI could collect the toll on fulfilling the above stated conditions. The Authority has failed in fulfilling the conditions. Hence, we have asked them not to collect the toll,” the minister said.


Moreover, the State government has already communicated the same to the NHAI.

However, when contacted the top brass at NHAI said that they did not receive any communication from the State regarding the toll collection on NH-7.


“Even if the State government has dispatched a letter, it has not reached us. A few people within the government are trying to politicise the issue,” sources in the NHAI told Decccan Herald.


However, the NHAI officials agreed that the State government had communicated to the Centre on Tuesday about resolving the issue at the earliest.


 “The State government has assured us and the Union government that law and order will be restored, after the vandalism on Monday, which damaged equipment at the toll gate,” said a NHAI source.


The Authority officials underlined that they had met all the pre-conditions before authorising the Navayuga Devanahalli Tollway Private Limited (NDTPL) to collect toll on their behalf.


Now, the ball is in the State’s court and it has to ensure safe toll collection, said sources at the NHAI.


Security issue


“Our officials have been manhandled, which is unacceptable. The State government needs to address the security issue before we restart toll collection,” said another source.


The NHAI would be ready with new set of equipment in the next four days, thereby, restarting toll collection by next week.


Probe sought


MP Ananth Kumar on Wednesday said collection of toll on BIA stretch of NH-7 would be an added burden on the people. The Central Bureau of Investigation needs to probe into the issue. “I will take up the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,” he said.

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