The Madras High Court on Thursday advised the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to improve its infrastructure, saying that the fee collected by the latter at toll plazas in Tamil Nadu was high as compared to the facilities provided.
The two-judge bench comprising of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy noted that the introduction of FASTag has not reduced the congestion at toll plazas in Tamil Nadu. The two-judge bench made the observation while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Tiruchirappalli-based advocate A Joseph Sahayaraj.
FASTag is a computerised toll collection system put in place by the central government.
The PIL seeks to restrain NHAI from collecting further toll fees from vehicles going past Paranur toll plaza on the Tambaram-Tindivanam stretch, stating that the concession agreement has already expired.
The petitioner's counsel told the judges that NHAI was entitled to collect only 40 per cent as per Rule 6 ((6)(b)) of NH Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008. Only a provisional completion certificate had been issued for the plaza. However, it was allowed to collect full toll. It glaringly exposed very many deficiencies in service, he added.
"There has to be some amount of infrastructural set up prior to introducing FasTag," the bench said, adding that it has resulted in the plazas remaining inaccessible to many and congestion at plazas.
The court adjourned the matter by two weeks.