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Madras High Court directs toll operator to collect only 50 % toll until potholed road is fixed

We all have travelled through bad highways, full of potholes and then paid the toll at the end of it. Madras High Court has pulled up National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) over pathetic road condition between Maduravoyal and Walajapet. The court also questioned NHAI about the death of a lady doctor, who fell in an open drain built by NHAI and died.

The Madras High Court has penalised NHAI for shoddy road conditions. It has also directed the authority to collect only 50% of the user fee in the two toll plazas that are located on this stretch. The concession amount will be charged from the toll road users for two weeks. A division bench of Justice M Sathayanaranan and Justice R Hemalatha even said that NHAI should hang its head in shame.

The judges hearing the case also added that after the interference of the court, no toll should be allowed to be collected on these roads. And it is their benevolence that 50% amount is permitted to collect from the road users.

There are many such roads across India where the motorists complain about the bad condition of the roads and hefty toll amounts. Many motorists also complain about the lack of facility in such places like restrooms and restaurants.

The court also pulled NHAI on the death of a student-doctor on December 7. 50-year old Dr Caroline Priscilla and her daughter skidded and fell in an open trench. The court asked the status of the NHAI’s 2018 proposal to cover open drains along the highways. It also asked the NHAI why they should not provide compensation to the family members of the lady who died after falling in the open drain.

NHAI has said that the potholes will be filled in 10 days but the court has asked the authority to do it in a scientific manner and not in a jiffy. The court humiliated NHAI by saying that what is the use of sending rockets to space if NHAI cannot build proper roads even after 70 years of independence.

There have been numerous incidents in the past due to the bad roads. Even inside the city limits, people have skidded and fallen off the two-wheelers. A lady in Mumbai fell in front of a truck after hitting a massive pothole and the truck ran over her causing her death. India has one of the largest road networks in the world and most of the planning, executing and maintenance job is done by NHAI.

Ministry of Road Transport and Highways announced on Wednesday that it has inked a pack with Austria for a technical corporation in road infrastructure space. Bilateral cooperation will allow India to have safer roads. While the exact details are not known, the joint statement says that the MoU aims to create an effective framework for bilateral cooperation in the field of road transportation, road/highways infrastructure development, management and administration, road safety and intelligent transport systems between both the countries.