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If you donít maintain roads Toll Plaza rates will become half, NHAI warns concessionaires

The 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.

The 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.

The 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.

We 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 years.

This 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.

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