GURUGRAM: Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Saturday announced that the Kherki Daula toll plaza will be shifted from its current location within the next six months, a long-overdue move that will bring relief to lakhs of residents as well as industrialists.
Khattar made the announcement while addressing a group of industrialists and residents of new sectors at an event in Manesar. “Land acquisition for shifting of the toll plaza has been done. It (the shifting) should be done within the next six months,” Khattar said.
The toll plaza has become a thorn in the side of the city because it makes residents pay a tax for commuting within Gurugram, the absurdity of which has led to frequent protests by those living in the new sectors. This has happened because Gurugram’s urban limits have expanded manifold over the years, mostly along the expressway and well past the toll plaza.
Khattar said apart from shifting the toll plaza, metro connectivity between Gurugram and Manesar was under consideration too. Industrialists complained Gurugram was losing out to Noida due to connectivity issues and the toll plaza. “We have acquired land for the metro. We will develop this Rs 8,000 crore project and work will start soon,” said Khattar.
While the CM’s announcement raises hope that work to shift the toll plaza will now progress on a war footing, it may still be a tough deadline to meet. From a dispute on the quantum of land being offered to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to the transfer of operations and financial liabilities of the toll concessionaire, several obstacles stand in the way of the toll plaza shift from Kherki Daula to Pachgaon. There is also a possible traffic conflict due to a proposed rapid rail station near the proposed toll plaza site.
Besides, land earmarked in Pachgaon for the toll plaza is facing litigations. In 2019, the Punjab and Haryana high court allowed the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) to take control of 50 acres in Pachgaon for shifting the toll plaza and developing a transit hub. However, NHAI was eventually offered 10 acres less by the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA), to make space for the station, forcing the number of lanes proposed to be reduced to 28 from 36. Compensation cases also need to be resolved.
“There are multiple issues with shifting. We want encumbrance-free land. We need to assess the traffic mobility and feasibility of having a toll plaza at a point where a multi-modal transit hub is planned and villagers are raising demands for multiple underpasses,” said an NHAI official.
The concessionaire, Millennium City Expressway Private Limited (MCEPL), has a legal guarantee to operate the toll plaza till January 2023 and it is not ready to give consent for toll removal. According to MCEPL, Pachgaon is beyond its jurisdiction area and if the toll plaza is shifted there, it won’t be able to manage it to recover the amount spent on constructing the highway.