Highway blues still taking toll
It seems some sense has finally been drilled into the heads of those on board of the National Highways Authority of India, which has decided not to charge tolls for roads under construction where the building process has fallen behind schedule. Evidently, this decision has been taken keeping in mind the difficulties faced by drivers and to prevent highway developers from exploiting the commuters by charging the latter despite the severe deficiency in terms quality of the service provided. NHAI has sought approval for the move from the ministry of transport and it is likely that the consent will soon be given, thereby providing some relief to the drivers and car owners who traverse the highways daily, particularly the Gurgaon-Jaipur road that is travelled by thousands of commuters every day. Road widening from four to six lanes, although intended to alleviate the traffic troubles, has become, at the present, the biggest hindrance to smooth passage of the lakhs of cars, buses, trucks and other heavy vehicles that ply on the road. Unfortunately, despite the inconvenience faced by the commuters, they have been paying hefty toll taxes, while the projects have been languishing under undue delays.
The decision to stop charging of toll tax is likely to send a jolt to the construction companies, which had been primarily responsible for the lag in the timely implementation of the road building projects. Several thousands of kilometres of road lay unbuilt and NHAI is dealing with an acute delay, which is affecting development of other affiliated areas. Verily, the companies are likely to step us gas and achieve completion of the projects, in order to be able to resume the toll tax, which is a big source of revenue not only for the government but also for the developers. NHAI’s decision particularly applies to the Gurgaon-Jaipur road, which has been facing public ire over the utter mess in which the crucial arterial roadlink has found itself for the past several months, and which is heavily behind schedule.