DND flyway toll free: Commuters rejoice
The traffic ran smooth and commuters rejoiced the free ride. From the foot of the flyover from Sarai Kale Khan on South Delhi side to the other side in Mayur Vihar and Noida, there was hardly any traffic congestion in the entire stretch after it was made toll-free soon after the directive.
As the news of the order announced by the double Bench of the Allahabad High Court came in, office bearers of the Federation of the Noida RWAs (FONRWA) assembled at DND office in Noida and removed the barricades. “The court has ordered to implement the decision immediately. There is no scope of delay or giving time to the company or the administration to implement the decision,” said N P Singh, president of FONRWA.
It was FONRWA which had challenged the “levy and collection of toll in the name of user fee by Noida Toll Bridge Company” through a Public Interest Litigation in 2012 in the High Court which resulted in the verdict. “When we approached the officers of Noida Authority and the UP government to ensure toll collection is stopped, they all said that they were bound by the contract. But we knew that the contract was against public interest and they all were in connivance to loot public money,” added Singh. Earlier, FONRWA, Farmers’ Associations and Janhit Morcha had forced open the DND flyway several times since 2007. It was commissioned on February 7, 2001.
“The decision of the court has proved the supremacy of truth once again. It’s not the money we were paying as a tool but they were charging us illegally and the entire government machinery remained a mute spectator,” said Rashmi Singh, a regular commuter between Noida Sector 22 and Hauz Khas. Babulal Sharma, another commuter who lives in Mayur Vihar and uses the DND to travel regularly to reach his shop in Lajpat Nagar, said: “The civic society association has done a great job. This work will be ideal for the next generation and inspire social activists throughout the country.”
The double Bench of the High Court had reserved the order on August 8 and announced the verdict in around 100-page judgment on Wednesday.
“The Concessionaire, according to their own financial statements, has recovered Rs 810.18 crore (approx) from toll income since the date of commencement of the project till March 31, 2014, and after deduction of operation and maintenance expenses and corporate income tax, the surplus was Rs 578.80 crore (computed before interest, depreciation, and lease rental received by the Concessionaire),” said the court.