National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has warned that toll charges could be halved in the event of poor maintenance of tolled roads. This warning to all states comes at a time when the Madras High Court has asked the NHAI to reduce toll charges by as much as 50% at the toll plaza at Madurai-Virudhunagar due to improper maintenance.
NHAI has asked all its officials to keep a close eye on conditions of tolled stretches of roads all across India and to ensure that they are properly maintained or else toll charges will be reduced.
Union road transport and highways secretary, Yudhvir Singh Malik, confirms that NHAI will take note of the Madras High Court order and assess and ensure proper maintenance of road. In September 2015, NHAI had also rolled back the toll hike along the Delhi-Jaipur NH-8 highway following a report that the road was potholed and improperly maintained.
This proposed hike was in violation of the Supreme Court order that toll should not be charged if roads are poorly maintained. The Madras High Court has also recently approved 100% toll charges can be charged at the Kappalur toll plaza once the poorly maintained 50 km stretch is repaired and report submitted to for verification.
NHAI is also expected to launch a national toll free number for persons to report road accidents on national highways. The same number can be used to register complaints with regard to operations and maintenance of the roads. The launch of this helpline number – 1033 is slated for launch later this month.
With this, users of the highway will be able to lodge direct complaints against the contractor. User will also be able to lodge complaints via social media. They can post photos of the bad stretch on Facebook or Twitter and tag the NHAI or Ministry of Road Transport handle in order to lodge complaint. Investigation will be launched, and if the contractor is found to be not fixing the highway, tolls will be halved.