Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava
New Delhi: Days after Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari informed Lok Sabha that the NDA government intends to change the toll policy in the days to come, the clamour for making the Delhi-Noida-Delhi (DND) flyover toll free has become louder.
If government sources are to be believed then the DND flyover management may soon make the highway toll free, reports said on Tuesday.
If implemented, the move will give a big relief to thousands of commuters from Noida who have to wait in long queues to pay toll tax to get entry into Delhi.
BJP MP from Gautam Buddh Nagar Mahesh Sharma has also raised the issue of making the DND flyover toll free in the previous session of the Lok Sabha.
Sharma also cited the case of Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, which was made toll-free following a Delhi High Court’s order earlier this year.
The Federation of Noida Residents` Welfare Associations (FONRWA) and Confederation of NCR Residents` Welfare Association (CONRWA) is also pressing the authorities to make the DND flyover toll free and have even taken the matter to court.
According to figures, Rs 428 crores were spent in the construction of the DND flyover, out of which Rs 20 crores were contributed by the Noida authority. As per the DND records, an estimated Rs 698 crores have been recovered so far, and according to FONRWA, toll tax collection to the tune of Rs 1400 crores has been made so far.
So, the petitioners have pitched for making the DND highway toll free since its total cost has ben recovered. Also, the carbon emission by vehicles plying on the DND flyover also pose a big threat to the Okhla bid sanctuary.
In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Gadkari had recently informed that the policy of road toll collection will be changed soon. A road developer will collect toll only after 100 per cent completion of the project, instead of 75 percent as it is being done now, the Minister had told the law makers.
Gadkari said that toll collection was less than expected due to the slowdown of the economy. He said the revenue share of the National Highways Authority of India was about Rs 6,000 crore at present and it is expected to go up to Rs 8,000 crore as the economy recovers.
Gadkari said he has held discussions with financial institutions as they do not want to fund road projects as there are huge Non Performing Assets in the sector.
He pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also expected to discuss the issue with financial institutions to restore their confidence where funding of road projects is concerned.
In reply to another question, Gadkari said his Ministry had allocated Rs 15,000 crore for the North-Eastern region for setting up well maintained roads.
The Minister said the quality of roads could also be improved as the Ministry is looking at building cement roads.