Delhi-Manesar to be toll-free
The Haryana government is making a strong push to shift the expressway’s toll plaza at Kherki Daula to the outskirts of Gurgaon. If this happens, it will make the entire stretch from Delhi to the Manesar industrial area toll-free, and become the second toll plaza to go after the 32lane one at Sirhaul on the Gurgaon-Delhi border was scrapped in 2014. It will also benefit lakhs of people who are in the process of, or are moving into, Gurgaon’s news sectors, around Dwarka expressway and Southern Peripheral Road.
The removal of the toll plaza from Kherki Daula has been the subject of intense speculation for a while. Now, for the first time, senior officials in the Haryana government are suggesting they have managed to tie the loose ends and the toll plaza will go from Kherki Daula soon. It will, however, be shifted, not scrapped. The new location, officials said, will be near Panchgaon crossing in Bilaspur, around 16km further down NH-8 towards Jaipur.Land for it has already been identified, the officials added. For the shift to materialise, the Haryana government will need to pay the private firm that operates the expressway and the toll plaza Rs 2,000 crore, officials said. The state’s industrial development agency, HSIIDC, said it is ready to pitch in with Rs 600 crore.
Sudhir Rajpal, managing director of HSIIDC, said, “We are in discussions with chief secretary DS Dhesi. The state government is likely to buy back the toll plaza from the concessionaire. Out of Rs 2,000 crore, HSIIDC will bear Rs 600 crore, NHAI Rs 600 crore and the remaining Rs 800 crore will be financed by the IDFC (the banking consortium that financed construction of the expressway).“
Sources said a meeting was held in Chandigarh on Friday where the government has given a nod to the buy-back option.
But the National Highways Authority of India said though it was aware of efforts to shift the toll plaza, discussions hadn’t moved beyond that. “There is no formal proposal in this regard,“ said YS Malik, the NHAI chairman. “Earlier, too, on a couple of occasions, there has been talk of shifting this toll.“