The Haryana government has planned to “buy” the snarl-hit Sirhaul toll plaza on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway from private concessionaire Delhi Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DGSCL).
Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Saturday expressed his government’s intention to buy the toll plaza and talk to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in this regard.
He said this on the sidelines of a CII conclave in Gurgaon. The Chief Minister didn’t elaborate the modalities of the takeover.
The government proposal comes as a major blow for the private operator as it is already under fire from the Punjab and Haryana High Court for the traffic chaos on the expressway, especially near the toll plaza.
Angry over the increasing chaos on the expressway and the “failure” of the concessionaire to provide relief to commuters, the High Court had stayed collection of toll tax for a month.
The High Court had also directed the concessionaire to implement a string of measures.
The court had asked the company to put additional booths and deploy more personnel with hand-held toll collection machines to cut waiting time at the plaza.
Most of the court’s suggestions such as split tolling have been adopted, but government officials said the time taken to cross the toll plaza has only marginally decreased.
When toll collection resumed on October 9, confusion and verbal duels with traffic police and marshals led to snarls near the toll plaza.
Although waiting time at the plaza was two to three minutes, the U-turn before the toll gates saw huge traffic jams which extended into the service lanes.
Sources said the perennial congestion has prompted the Haryana government to hint at taking over the plaza from the private operator.
Hooda said his government has always given precedence to infrastructure of international standards in the state, thereby boosting industrialisation.
Citing examples, he said the 135-km KMP Expressway and the Metro rail networks to Gurgaon, Faridabad and Bahadurgarh were accorded maximum priority so that rapid economic growth could be ensured through better connectivity.
He said the state’s average annual growth rate of 9.4 per cent over the past seven years has been higher than the national average of 8.4 per cent.
Hooda also said a request has been made to the Centre for an independent High Court for Haryana.