Double toll-tax without fast tag:HP HC demands submission from NHAI

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Photo used for indicative purpose only. Source internet

Shimla, Apr 5

The High Court of H.P., in a matter of alleged collection of toll in violation of the Rules of National Highway Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008, at Toll Plaza at Sanwara, District Solan, has directed the National Highways Authority of India to make submissions on the next date of hearing concerning the charging of double the normal amount of the toll from the people who have not taken fast-tag facility. The petitioner raised the issue that the people who have not taken the fast-tag facility are being charged double the normal amount of the toll.

A Division Bench comprising the Chief Justice, Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua,  passed these orders on public interest litigation filed by one Adit Singal, alleging that the establishment of the Toll Plaza at Sanwara, District Solan, is illegal and contrary to the Rules of National Highway Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008. He has alleged that no Toll Plaza can be established in the same section within a distance of 60 km. In contrast, another Toll Plaza is situated at Chandimandir, District Panchkula and at Parwanoo in District Solan within 60 kms from the Sanwara Toll Plaza.  He has also alleged that the completion certificate stating completion of 95 percent of cent work has been wrongly issued in favour of M/s G. R Infraprojects by the National Highways Authority of India. The petitioner has alleged that the public is compelled to pay toll for incomplete facilities that too at exorbitant rates.  The petitioner has prayed to issue directions to forbear the respondents from collecting toll fee at its Toll Plaza at Sanwara. He has also prayed to quash the contract, construction completion certificate issued to M/GR Infraprojects by the National Authority of India and also to quash the notification fixing the toll charges payable by the vehicles crossing the subject Toll Plaza.

NHAI today filed fresh Status Report before the Court in compliance to order dated 15.3.2022, whereby NHAI was directed to state on the affidavit of some responsible Officer as to what is the present status with regard to incomplete portion of approximately two kilometers road and construction of over bridge at the beginning of Parwanoo-Solan section and within what period of time, they are likely to complete such construction.

The status report filed is supported by an affidavit of the Project Director, NHAI, Project Implementation Unit Shimla. It has been stated by the NHAI that pending work at Viaduct near TTR approximately in the length of 0.350 KM is presently in progress and is likely to be completed by November, 2022. Similar pending work at Viaduct near Badhauni in the length of 0.260 KM is getting delayed because of change of scope of work and is likely to be completed by November, 2023. Similarly, pending work near Rabon village in the length of 0.150 KM is also getting delayed because of change of scope of work and is likely to be completed by November 2022. The work at near Rabon village is struck in the length of 1.150 KM because of the Court case and the same is likely to be completed by November 2022. The Court ordered that NHAI may file appropriate application before the concerned Court to expedite the process of finalisingng the case, which Court shall take up the matter in priority and decide the same at the earliest by considering that the project of completion of National Highway is not unduly delayed.The matter has been posted for 27.04.2022

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