National High Way Authority of India has for the first time decided not to
challenge an order of a state high court directing the concessionaire to slash
the toll charges by fifty per cent till the Highway stretch in South Tamil Nadu
is maintained to the satisfaction of the road users.
change in the attitude of NHAI comes in the wake of reports that government
agencies remained a Principal Litigant in courts and their success rate was
hardly ten per cent.
NHAI went a step further directing its state level officials to ensure that all
the tolled stretches across the country are maintained properly. In fact they
followed the Court order saying wherever discrepancies are found, toll rates
will be halved immediately for poor maintenance.
respect the court order and take it in the right spirit. The NHAI has decided
not to challenge the order, a spokesman of the authority said. To have regular drill for maintenance, the
authority plans to bring in a protocol for annual assessment of roads for
maintenance. This would help to bring about accountability in view of the fact
large tracts of the National High way have become toll roads in the last ten
is one of the rare occasions when NHAI has decided not to challenge an order in
its bid to send a message to concessionaires and highway operators that people
pay toll for good service and have a right to get relief if the service is
deficient. NHAI has taken the decision for road users rather than taking care
of contractors as they have been doing it in the past. .
Thee years ago the NHAI took a similar corrective measure when they had rolled
back the toll hike on the Delhi-Jaipur
stretch of National Highway Eight after the Supreme Court expressed concern
over the conditions in the high way.
Taking up the case of road users in Madurai-
Virudunagar stretch in South Tamil Nadu, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court
recently passed an interim order saying that the 100 per cent toll charge can
be restored at the Kappalur toll plaza only after the 50 km-stretch, maintained
in a very poor condition, is repaired and a report submitted to the Court.