NHAI suspends contractor’s tolling rights
After suspending tolling rights of Panipat-Jalandhar NH-1 Pvt Ltd ( formerly called Soma Isolux NH-1 Tollway Pvt Ltd) on account of multiple defaults regarding operation and maintenance, payment of authority share in fee collected, street lighting , completion of balance work, signage, and failure to improve safety standards, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) took over the tolling on the 291 km NH 1 stretch.
As reported by NHAI officials, around 900 people lost their lives and 12,721 were left injured on this stretch in the past seven years.The six-laning of the stretch has thus been delayed by nine years.
NHAI had awarded the work for widening the stretch to the developer in May 2008. This was scheduled for completion in November, 2011 and the provisional approval for toll collection was issued in September, 2015. Currently, 3% work involving around Rs 300 crore is yet to be completed, as reported by officials.
Road accidents on National Highways claimed 53,892 lives, approximately 36% of the 1.51 lakh road fatalities in India in 2019.
The government is looking forward to collecting 100% toll charges on national highways via FASTags, commencing from 1 January 2021 in order to get rid of cash transactions. As of now, almost 75% of toll payments are made through FASTags and only one lane at toll plazas accept cash.