Collect only 50% toll till highway is repaired: HC directs NHAI

The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to collect only 50% of the toll at the two booths situated between the Maduravoyal and Ranipet stretch of the National Highway 48, which connects Chennai and Bengaluru.

Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and R. Hemalatha said only half of the toll amount should be collected until the NHAI uses scientific methods to repair the highway stretch, which is covered with deep craters and potholes.

When Assistant Solicitor-General G. Karthikeyan told the court that the highway would be repaired within 10 days, the judges asked him to make a mention before the court after completing the work so that the interim order could be vacated.

The order was passed on a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) petition taken up by the court last year, based on a letter written by Justice Sathyanarayanan to Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi about the poor maintenance of the stretch despite the collection of toll.

Expressing anguish over the NHAI not maintaining the stretch properly even after the court took suo motu cognisance of the issue, the judges said they were tired of hearing repeated statements that the stretch would be repaired at the earliest.

Stating that the NHAI should at least strive to maintain the national highways as per the Indian Road Congress norms, the Bench pointed out the absence of proper lighting facilities, sign boards and reflectors on the stretch.

They wondered why the NHAI was not laying all-weather roads and why it always went for temporary patch work that did not last long.

The judges said the day was not far when somebody who met with an accident due to the condition of the road would come to the NHAI for compensation.

The judges also took judicial note of the death of a 50-year-old woman and her 20-year-old daughter, after their two-wheeler skidded and they fell into an open storm water canal abutting the Irumbuliyar-Maduravoyal bypass service road on Sunday.

After directing the NHAI to pay compensation to the victims’ family, the judge recorded the submission of Mr. Karthikeyan that all storm water drains abutting national highways would be covered.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 3:41:48 AM |

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