Delhi High Court directs the Haryana Police to assist the municipal body

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday paved the way for the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) to collect entry tax from commercial vehicles entering Delhi from the Rajokri toll plaza at 24 km milestone on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway. The control of the expressway was recently taken over by the Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC), the lead financer of the project, putting an end to a long-drawn legal tussle.

A Bench of Justice Manmohan Singh took on record the settlement arrived at between the SDMC and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for allowing the civic body to collect the entry tax. It said the Haryana Police will provide assistance for the same. The Court ordered that “the parties to the settlement shall be bound by the terms and conditions arrived at in the meeting held between the NHAI and the SDMC on February 25”.

The Bench passed the order on a petition filed by the SDMC seeking direction to restrain the Delhi Government, the NHAI and others from preventing it from collecting toll tax from Rajokri toll plaza by using the existing infrastructure and its own manpower.

The High Court was on Wednesday informed that in compliance with its February 21 order, a joint meeting was held between the NHAI and the Delhi Municipal Corporation on February 25 and the dispute resolved. Both parties placed the minutes of the meeting before the court, which said: “The Haryana Police to give the assistance and to do the needful in order to implement the minutes of the meeting.”

The parties have agreed that the NHAI will allow the SDMC to collect entry tax from commercial vehicles in six toll lanes located on extreme left side on Jaipur-Delhi bound carriageway and also on split plaza booths.

They also agreed that the “islands between the toll lands of the abandoned toll plaza will remain as it is for the time being and further improvements will be taken up to alert the traffic by way of providing traffic bollards on the nosing of the island”. The receiver IDFC, the lead lender of the expressway project, will provide traffic calming arrangements by installing traffic calming device before the approach to the traffic island and SDMC will bear the expenses for these arrangements by reimbursing the expenditure to IDFC.

The meeting also concluded that the IDFC will install signboards for sensitising commercial vehicles at a distance of 500 metre, 1 km, 1,500 metre, and 2 km before the toll collection booths towards the Jaipur side along with provision of a divider line and traffic cones to channelise commercial traffic towards the entry tax collection lanes.

They also agreed on the SDMC paying the NHAI for using present electricity arrangements at the collection area. As per the settlement, the SDMC will have to pay rent for use of the National Highway land, toll booths and office space in accordance with the National Highway Act, 2002, and the Highway Administration Rule, 2004. It was also agreed that access to the booths in the SDMC tax collection lanes on existing toll plaza will be allowed from outside only by restricting the use of tunnel under the existing abandoned toll booths.

“The SDMC may collect the entry tax from commercial vehicle coming from the connecting road from Kapashera and joining NH-8 ahead of existing toll plaza booths toward Delhi side. The IDFC will make arrangements to restrict direct entry of traffic of that lane on the main carriageway,” it said

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