The Punjab and Haryana High Court slammed the traffic snarls at the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway toll plaza and barred its operator from collecting any charges from motorists for 15 days starting Tuesday midnight.
The court directed the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to convene a meeting with the concessionaire and the Haryana government to find a permanent solution to the traffic snarls at the toll plaza.
A division bench comprising Justice Jasbir Singh and Justice Rakesh Kumar restrained expressway concessionaire Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Ltd (DGSCL) from collecting toll.
The bench expressed its displeasure at the concessionaire not being able to control traffic snarls at the busy toll plaza used by tens of thousands of vehicles every day. The concessionaire collects thousands of rupees from toll daily.
A DGSCL spokesman said in Gurgaon that the company would follow the court's direction and not charge toll from commuters for the next 15 days from midnight Tuesday.
The court pointed out that the differences between the three sides were leading to unnecessary harassment of commuters.
The toll plaza sees long queues of cars and other vehicles, causing traffic jams, throughout the day. Commuters on the Delhi-Gurgaon highway have been facing a harrowing time due to the snarls.
The high court directed the Haryana government to provide adequate security at the toll plaza for the next 15 days.
Counsel for the concessionaire argued that the state authorities and the NHAI were not cooperating in finding a solution to the traffic problem, leading to chaos at the toll plaza. However, the court did not find favour with the argument.
The court would next hear the case Sep 20.
The DGSCL spokesman said: "We respect the decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and would discuss with the NHAI and the administration over the next few days to come up with a long term solution."
"Since 2008, we have proposed to the NHAI various options to ease congestion at the toll plaza, including the vital aspect of toll plaza expansion," said the spokesperson.
"We have submitted several plans to the NHAI for the expansion of the toll plaza since 2009 but till date these have not yet been approved. We are also discussing with the NHAI several other measures and initiatives that would improve the commuting experience," he said.
The spokesman said a petition related to the issue was pending before the Delhi High Court which was reviewing a settlement agreement between the parties involved.
Some measures being discussed with the NHAI included a review of the entry/exit modifications on the expressway, installation of real time traffic monitoring systems, penalisation of cash users in tag lanes, blocking of the U-turn for Ambience Mall and discounts to attract more tag users, the company said.
With IANS inputs