The Allahabad High Court has finally declared the Noida DND – expressway connecting the national capital and neighboring Uttar Pradesh – as toll free.
The high court pronounced its order on a PIL filed by the Federation of Noida Residents Welfare Associations (FONRWA).
The DND flyway witnessed several protests and demonstrations seeking scrapping of the Rs 28 toll following allegations that the operator of the 9.2-km-long stretch (including the Mayur Vihar link) has already made significant profits.
The flyway connects Delhi on the west bank of the Yamuna with Noida and East Delhi.
The road is used by around 1,25,000 vehicles on a weekday. On an average, the NTBCL collects around Rs 25 lakh daily as toll, with private cars coughing up Rs 28 and two-wheelers paying Rs 12 per trip.
The petitioner said the Noida authority had not advertised the tender for collection of toll and arbitrarily entered into a contract with NTBCL for the collection of toll for a period of 30 years.
On the other hand, NTBCL had earlier said they have an agreement for 30 years to operate the toll. It said its contract with Noida Authority is binding and collection of toll over the bridge is less than the estimates according to the contract. Hence, the liability of Noida Authority has only increased in last few years as per the contract. Therefore, in the case of a breach of contract Noida Authority would be liable to pay a huge amount of compensation to NTBCL and it must be allowed to collect toll for the said period to avoid compensatory clause of the contract.
DND Flyway Director Monisha Macedo had said that the contract for operating the flyway can even be extended for two more years if it does not earn profits within that time frame. Macedo said they are trying to recover not only the cost of construction, but also earn a return out of it.
In fact, in August 2016, members of Janhit Morcha and several Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs) of Noida demanded abolition of toll tax DND flyway, and they forcibly opened the expressway for vehicles for free.
The protesters were led by BJP leader and founder of Janhit Morcha, Nawab Singh Nagar. He had launched an indefinite protest in support of their demand to make the DND flyway toll free. Nagar had said their aim is to make DND toll free, while maintaining that the protest is not politically motivated.