The Delhi Noida Direct flyway connecting Delhi to Noida will remain toll free at least till July, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday. Hearing the matter, the apex court took into account the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) and said that the matter will be heard again in July.
Earlier on February 13, the SC had deferred the matter for six weeks saying no toll will be charged till then on the 9.2 km-long, eight-lane flyway.
The Allahabad High Court had on October 26, 2016 ordered that no toll would be collected from those using the flyway. The order was passed as the high court had allowed a PIL by the Federation of Noida Residents Welfare Association that had challenged the "levy and collection of toll in the name of user fee" by the Noida Toll Bridge Company Ltd (NTBCL).
However, the NTBCL had challenged the high court verdict in the top court, saying its cost has not been recovered as the HC did not take into account all aspects and factors like interest on construction cost, depreciation and maintenance expenses, which come to around Rs 12.5 lakh per day.
The SC had in November 2016 asked the CAG to assist in the matter and verify the company's claim that the total cost of the project has not been recovered.
The flyover connects Delhi on the west bank of the Yamuna with Noida and East Delhi. The expressway, which opened in 2001, considerably reduces the travel time between Delhi and Noida. Nearly 1.5 lakh vehicles take the route daily.
The flyway has witnessed several protests and demonstrations seeking scrapping of the toll after there were allegations that the operator of the 9.2-km-long stretch (including the Mayur Vihar link) had made significant profits.