In a big relief to commuters on the busy Delhi-Noida-Direct (DND) flyway, the Allahabad High Court (HC) on Wednesday waived the toll tax.
A division bench of Justice Arun Tandon and Justice Sumita Agarwal said vehicles plying on the toll road need not pay the toll tax any longer.
The court also observed that the toll tax being levied on vehicles was illegal and ordered the state government to ensure that it was not levied any further.
A petition was filed before the division bench by the Federation of Noida Residents Welfare Associations, which had sought cancellation of the contract between the Noida Authority and the company running the toll.
The court has been hearing the matter for the last four years.
The court had completed all hearing on August 8 and had reserved its decision.
The company, however, is likely to petition the Supreme Court against the HC decision on Thursday.
The DND authorities stopped charging toll from vehicles from Wednesday evening.
The court pronounced its order on a public interest litigation (PIL) that was filed by the Federation of Noida Resident Welfare Association (FONRWA).
The PIL, filed four years ago, sought to remove toll collection on the Flyway.
The DND flyway started operations in 2001. The nine-km stretch was built at a cost of Rs 407 crore and it is believed to have collected total toll tax amounting to Rs 2,000 crore already.
The toll tax slab currently was Rs 12 for two-wheelers and Rs 28 for four-wheelers on a one-way trip.
People in Noida have welcomed the decision and said this will not only stop illegal fleecing of commuters but would bring to an end the long traffic jams on the route.
According to N.P.Singh, President of FONRWA: “This is a victory of the people. The toll shouldn’t have been collected.” He said the federation had filed the PIL in 2012.
“We may even file a caveat with the Supreme Court tomorrow,” Singh told IANS anticipating that the Noida Toll Bridge Company (NTBCL) may move the apex court.
The NTBCL has been promoted by Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) as a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to develop construct, operate and maintain the DND Flyway on a “Build Own Operate Transfer” (BOOT) basis till 2031. The company said it will issue a reaction after looking at the judgement.
The DND Flyway is the shortest route between Noida and Delhi, the other routes being via the Nizamuddin Bridge and Okhla Barrage.