This order was passed four days ago but NHAI claims they have not yet received a copy yet
Four days after the passing of the order by the Madras High Court to cut road tax by 50 percent across the highways between Maduravoyal and Walajapet, NHAI has continued to collect 100 percent toll. The Madras HC had ruled that the condition of the highway between these two points was in a pitiable condition.
The bad stretch of potholed highway, which also had an open storm water drain, had resulted in the death of a Doctor and her daughter earlier this month and this is despite the fact that the toll collected at these two plazas amounts to Rs 133 crores each year.
Users Continue to Pay 100 Percent
The Madras HC, chaired by Justice M Sathyanarayanan and Justice R Hemalatha, passed the order that toll charges at the two plazas between Maduravoyal and Walajapet should be cut by 50 percent till the stretch was repaired. The bench also remarked that NHAI should hang their head in shame over building such bad roads.
The complaint filed by S Yuvaraj from the Tamil Nadu Truckers Association claims that there are at least half a dozen potholes on this stretch causing much difficulty to highway users and resulting in damage to the vehicles. The Bench, after viewing photographs of the stretch of highway in question noted that the potholes were filled in an unscientific manner and gave way within a year of filling.
The Bench also argued as to why NHAI could not lay proper roads even after 70+ years of Independence. They also ruled that they were being compassionate to the NHAI in allowing a 50 percent toll when they should actually not be permitted to charge any toll at all.
The toll charges continued to stand at 100 percent as a Senior NHAI Official of the Chennai Regional Office claimed that they had yet to receive a written order from the Madras HC. It is unclear as to when NHAI will start charging the reduced toll fee, as ordered by the Court.
The one way toll charges continued at Rs.50 for cars at the toll plazas at Sriperumbudur and Chennasamudram near Walajapet respectively both in cash mode and via Fastag. The image of the toll charges paid on Sunday is evidence of the NHAI not following Court orders.
This is not the only stretch that has open storm water drains which pose a threat to passersby. The Chennai Tada Road, also maintained by NHAI has open drains on either side. NHAI Officials claim that out of the 33 km stretch of storm water drains, only 11 kms are open while the rest were covered earlier this year.