The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on a PIL highlighting lack of basic amenities along the Western (Kundli-Manesar-Palwal) and Eastern Peripheral Expressway (Kundli-Ghaziabad-Pawal) which make for the largest ring road around Delhi and was opened to combat air pollution by diverting traffic of heavy vehicles passing through Delhi.
The high court issued a notice to the NHAI, besides also impleading Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC), in the matter as the NHAI submitted that HSIIDC is a necessary party.
The PIL moved by advocate Amit Sahni questions how the authorities and their agencies can charge toll without providing even the most basic amenities like petrol pump, medical facilities, toilet complex, emergency services, eateries, etc., along the highways.
He has also made a general prayer that "the wayside amenities be integrally planned and developed along with National Highways and such amenities be made operational by the respondent for all its future projects before the commencement of toll collection to ensure safety and security of the commuters".
"The Western Peripheral Expressway or Kundli-Manesar- Palwal (KMP) Expressway, is an operational 6-lane (3 lane in each direction), 135.6 Km long Expressway in the Haryana. Along with the Eastern Peripheral Expressway, the Western Peripheral Expressway was constructed with an expectation to divert more than 50,000 heavy vehicles from Delhi, which will help to maintain the good air quality in Delhi. Western Peripheral Expressway along with Eastern Peripheral Expressway completes the largest ring road around Delhi.
"Each of the 10 entries and exits are tolled and toll rates are notified in December 2018 as Rs 1.35 per km for cars, Rs 2.18 per km for light motor vehicles, Rs 4.98 per Km for trucks and buses. Two wheelers are not permitted on the expressway. Despite paying a heavy toll, commuters are not getting basic facilities.
"The western Peripheral way of the KMP e-way became operational about two years back, but none of the basic facilities -- Petrol Pumps, Ambulance Helpline, Toilet Complex, Emergency Services, Medical Services, Crane facility, Police Patrolling, Eateries and Fast Tag are made available on the said expressway," said Sahni.
He submitted that "thousands of vehicles cross western Peripheral way daily but despite paying the toll, none of the above basic facility is available on the expressway even as the Eastern Peripheral way has the basic facilities as it was inaugurated by the Prime Minister in November last year".
Drawing a comparison between the Peripheral highway and other National Highways like the one connecting Delhi –Gurgaon (IGI Airport Toll) and Delhi Gurgaon (Kherki Daula), Sahni said the latter has the basic facilities for commuters.
Sahni prayed to the court to call for a report from the NHAI regarding basic facilities available at Eastern/Western Peripheral and direct it to ensure that all essential facilities are put in place.