As per recent orders by the Supreme Court, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and concessionaires cannot collect toll from commuters on poorly maintained roads. Here is more.
Here’s some good news for all those who are frustrated with the extremely bad condition of roads on many Indian highways. The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and concessionaires cannot collect toll from commuters if the road is not well maintained.
Commuters often complain about the fact that the NHAI and concessionaires collect hefty tolls on roads which are majorly damaged and there are no signs of repair.
The decision came after a case regarding high toll paid on the poorly maintained 26-km Raipur-Durg stretch on NH-53 came before the Supreme Court. Justices T S Thakur and Kurian Joseph set up a committee to inspect the condition of the road, and the committee came back with very poor report about the situation.
After this the NHAI and concessionaries were told that no toll should be charged for bad roads.
The bench said, “General public should not be made to suffer on both counts – bad roads and hefty toll.” It also asked the concessionaire to refund Rs. 11 crore which has been collected as toll, to the central government.
The central government had earlier reduced the toll by 60 percent on the Raipur-Durg stretch considering the poor condition of the road, but SC didn’t want commuters to pay any toll on such a poorly maintained road.
However, after the central government’s plea that some parts of the stretch are usable, the SC decided to bring down the toll fee to 20 percent of the earlier fee till the road is fully prepared.
“Why should people pay the toll? Should they pay toll for bad roads? If the roads are bad, it is because of lack of will and policy of the government. They should do something. If concessionaires are not repairing the roads, then also the government should make sure the work is done,” said the bench.