HC extends order for 50% toll collection on highway

The Madras High Court on Friday extended till March 11 its interim order directing National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to collect only 50% of toll at two plazas situated between the “poorly maintained” Maduravoyal-Ranipet section of National Highway-48.

Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and A.A. Nakkiran extended the order after NHAI reported to the court that only patch works could be done for the present and the entire stretch could not be re-laid since the works for converting it from a four to six lane highway was to begin shortly.

Observing that the condition of the highway was pathetic with the patch work peeling off frequently due to heavy vehicular traffic, the judges said the lives of the road users was being put to risk also because of absence of proper lighting facility, medians and sign boards.

The Bench pointed out that the existing four lane highway was laid between 2004 and 2007. Since then, the highway was being maintained till date only through shoddy patchworks by citing commencement of six-lane conversion work which was yet to see the light of the day.

A premier agency such as NHAI was expected to lay and maintain highways in accordance with Indian Road Congress standards, the judges said and expressed displeasure over the way in which the Maduravoyal-Ranipet section of NH-48 was being maintained.

“It would be a wonder if one travels in the highway during night hours and reaches his/her destination alive. The condition is so horrible,” the senior judge in the Bench told NHAI counsel G. Karthikeyan and asked him to take a drive on the highway.

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