The three municipalities of Delhi are not just jeopardizing lives by setting up crude, antiquated and unscientific toll booths, but violating many laws such as those set by NHAI (National Highway Authority of India) in the process as well.
The NHAI, which is responsible for collecting toll on all 87 highways of the country, has also set guidelines for civic toll collections in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and all other metropolitan cities.
The ‘Toll Rules’ under NHAI clearly say that a separate lane has to be created for ‘commercial vehicles’ which need to be taxed. In the case of Delhi, these are the ‘yellow plate’ bearing taxis, mini trucks, freight lorries and other heavy vehicles.
There should be lanes for essential commodities and ambulances for quick movement, two-wheelers and three-wheelers as well.
Under no situation, there should be obstruction in the way of private vehicles which are not to be taxed, NHAI says.
Further, in many cities, there has been a growing demand that in case of big traffic jams, vehicles should be allowed to pass for free.
‘RUFFIANS WHO JUMP IN THE ROAD SANS ID PROOF’
In Mumbai, in July 2016, Public Works Department (MSRDC) minister Eknath Shinde, said in the state legislative council, “People have no objection in paying toll but don’t like waiting in the queue for hours. Toll nakas will be asked to leave vehicles without collecting toll at the time of heavy traffic congestion,” Shinde said in the Upper House replying to a call attention motion by Congress legislator Sanjay Dutt and NCP MLAs.
Usman Nasim, researcher on sustainable mobility at the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said, “NHAI also has clear guidelines for how a toll booth has to be operated and the staff there. For example, it says the toll operators must have photo ID cards and a proper uniform. Also, they must have electronic devices which issue printed slips.”
“Unfortunately what we have here right now are ruffians who jump in the middle of the road sans any ID proof. They tear a piece of paper to give you as a slip. SDMC, which has appointed one toll operator then sublets it to another which outsources the work to local goons, and that is how it goes,” he added.
There is also no system in place for drivers who want to get monthly or annual passes made so as to make traffic movement quick and easy, he pointed out.
ENVIRONMENTAL COMPENSATION CHARGE
Not just that, the MCD toll booths are making a mockery of the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) Environmental Compensation Charge (ECC) too. The court fixed a heavy ECC or green cess on trucks coming into Delhi to discourage them from passing through the national Capital, and thereby reduce the diesel-fumes pollution created by them.
However, the crude toll booths are creating heavy traffic jams, as seen on DND Flyway, leading to even more fuel consumption and pollution.
The Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) has conducted several studies showing idling vehicles waste more fuel and produce much more Carbon Dioxide at traffic intersections during long traffic jams. Elandon Roberts Authentic Jersey