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Old 22nd October 2010, 16:23   #1
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Default Charging Toll on under construction highways - Ethical?

I have been driving, or been driven on Indian roads for the last 20 years.
IT was simple way back then.
Companies/Govt used to construct a toll road/bridge section, and once done used to charge toll.

However, lately, I have noticed that highways which are being widened, also have ongoing Toll collection.
For example, NH1 from Delhi to Punjab.

You pay 150rs Toll for a distance of 250kms till Punjab border from Delhi.

Of this 20rs is for Panipat toll bridge, which is a wide 6 laned corridor and bypasses the entire town.

However, once you cross the panipat toll bridge, you get 2 more gates, and cumulative toll is 130rs.

This stretch has widening going on so
1. Many stretches have less than 2 lanes, and due to slow moving traffic like tractors, average speed is only 20-30kmph
2. Many diversions are not marked, and at night its your vision and luck which ensure your survival
3. A lot of the section has big potholes, due to monsoon rains. Since 3 lane work is going on, they are not really fixing the potholes, as they will re-carpet surface sometime next year. So only patch up jobs are done.


Now the question arises, is it ethical to forcefully charge toll for such shoddy road and management.
3 laning deadline is sometime Nov 2011, and is expected to overshoot by a large margin as work progress is slow(same old story).

So for 2 more years, commuters have to suffer and pay driving on a road which is not an expressway or highway during this time, but just like any other local potholed congested road.
A lot of people may be okay for paying money for future, but I believe when I pay money, I should get service, esp when I am already paying stuff like road taxes.

So, do you think its ethical and right for govt to collect money while the road is still under construction?
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Old 22nd October 2010, 16:30   #2
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I totally agree with you. It is not ethical and very bad. Contractors have realised that they can make big money by this way and are ready to share the profits with officials and the general public are the ones to ultimately suffer.

Tell you what, Put a flag post and a political org flag in your safari and you don't have to pay any toll.
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Old 22nd October 2010, 16:31   #3
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No, charging for unfinished is not even legal, let alone ethical. But may be they are charging for the work already done and it is just that a few modifications/improvements are going on now.
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Old 22nd October 2010, 16:32   #4
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Oh Man! you touched a raw nerve here. I did the strech from Delhi to Ludhiana a few days ago, and was wondering the exact same thing.

I think we should inform the authorities about this. But which one?
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Old 22nd October 2010, 16:52   #5
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I faced the same problem few days back while I was driving on NH24. This highway is still under construction and some patches are really in bad shape however recently NHAI has put some Toll Plaza where they charge 40 Rs for Cars. I could have paid 10 Rs to Toll Operator and got away but I didn't do because I wanted my money to goto Goverment directly rather then going to Operator's pocket.
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Old 22nd October 2010, 16:53   #6
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It's just not under construction roads, I've been on couple of roads in Maharashtra (for eg Karad-Chiplun) which are deemed toll roads but the road quality is pathetic - patch work all around. Looking at the people manning the toll gates, it's not difficult to guess where the money collected is going.
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Old 22nd October 2010, 17:00   #7
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Forget about ethical or non ethical we should not pay a rupee as toll. We already pay the highest as road tax. Close to 10% of the cost of the vehicle is paid as road tax. If that was not enough we pay taxes and cess on the fuel for the maintenance of roads. Where does all this money go. So in short we finance to both build and do the maintenance of the road. Infact the customer Build Operate and Maintain the roads.
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Old 22nd October 2010, 17:12   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplyself View Post
No, charging for unfinished is not even legal, let alone ethical. But may be they are charging for the work already done and it is just that a few modifications/improvements are going on now.
i believe it is legal or moreso made legal for the contractors and money makers convenience.

There was a big uproar in chennai months back by lorry operators, when similar toll were collected for unfinsihed roads, but to no avail.
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Old 22nd October 2010, 17:47   #9
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You can get to the root of the matter by filing an RTI application for information on the arrangement under which the said contractor has been authorised by the concerned Govt dept or NHAI to collect toll.

if the arrangement specifies that the contractor can collect toll ( or part of the final fixed toll rate ) at different stages of construction, then no point blaming the contractor. else you may take it up with the authorities on what basis the contractor is doing this.
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Old 22nd October 2010, 17:58   #10
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Though I wouldn't fuss paying toll on a completed highway, I don't think it is unethical collecting if atleast half of the work is done on the highway making it more usable than it was before the work commenced. (Sadly it isn't so in most of the cases).

For most of the Contractors, the laying of road is done under B-O-T contract, and therefore would like to make most of it as soon as possible, as they would be required to surrender their right to toll after, say, 15 years (from the date of completion only). Considering the extent of damage that is being done to our roads by the same public due to their reckless driving, I have come across, through few of my clients, the BOT contracts are not as commercially viable as other contracts. My rupee to this point.
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Old 22nd October 2010, 17:59   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
I have been driving, or been driven on Indian roads for the last 20 years.
IT was simple way back then.
Companies/Govt used to construct a toll road/bridge section, and once done used to charge toll.

However, lately, I have noticed that highways which are being widened, also have ongoing Toll collection.
For example, NH1 from Delhi to Punjab.

You pay 150rs Toll for a distance of 250kms till Punjab border from Delhi.

Of this 20rs is for Panipat toll bridge, which is a wide 6 laned corridor and bypasses the entire town.

However, once you cross the panipat toll bridge, you get 2 more gates, and cumulative toll is 130rs.

This stretch has widening going on so
1. Many stretches have less than 2 lanes, and due to slow moving traffic like tractors, average speed is only 20-30kmph
2. Many diversions are not marked, and at night its your vision and luck which ensure your survival
3. A lot of the section has big potholes, due to monsoon rains. Since 3 lane work is going on, they are not really fixing the potholes, as they will re-carpet surface sometime next year. So only patch up jobs are done.


Now the question arises, is it ethical to forcefully charge toll for such shoddy road and management.
3 laning deadline is sometime Nov 2011, and is expected to overshoot by a large margin as work progress is slow(same old story).

So for 2 more years, commuters have to suffer and pay driving on a road which is not an expressway or highway during this time, but just like any other local potholed congested road.
A lot of people may be okay for paying money for future, but I believe when I pay money, I should get service, esp when I am already paying stuff like road taxes.

So, do you think its ethical and right for govt to collect money while the road is still under construction?
I travelled Gurgaon-Amritsar in Sept and must've shelled out around 250 bucks as Toll.

And as you said, the condition of roads near Panipat, Sonepat and Kurukshetra do not deserve to be paid for at the moment.

There is absolutely NO accountability when it comes to toll collection. The people at the toll plaza have no official badge or proof of being authorized to collect the toll.

According to the B-O-T (build-operate-transfer) scheme, a Private contractor is supposed to build the road/flyover, collect the money and then transfer it to the Govt. once the costs have been recovered.
Now take the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway. The plaza has been collecting Rs. 18-20 since years! and without exaggeration, lakhs or even more vehicles cross that plaza. Are we supposed to believe the cost has not been recovered YET?!
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Old 22nd October 2010, 18:54   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vipul_singh View Post
Oh Man! you touched a raw nerve here. I did the strech from Delhi to Ludhiana a few days ago, and was wondering the exact same thing.

I think we should inform the authorities about this. But which one?
Hi Vipul,

Which one? Final answer is no one. All these Private authorities who took tenders for highways are powerful Politicians cum businessmen and other such like famous Indian Multi Billionaires Bro's.

I don't think that government will hear our voice until any magic happens.

Regards,
Camon
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Old 22nd October 2010, 19:19   #13
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@Tanvir - Its highly unethical & IMO, I think its even against the law. I'm very sure there's not one guy who's going to agree that its ethical or approve collecting toll for uncompleted highway.

Why they do it? Simple - greed for revenue & most importantly - they're unable to obtain the sanctioned money from Govt without baksheesh!!! Hence they collect from us & if we inturn file a RTI, they inturn point the minister who's holding their approved money. This happened in Chennai except the toll collection part. The contractor was smart enough to complete the project with good roads minus the side barriers & started the vasool; the first day was a big chaos!!!
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Old 23rd October 2010, 20:04   #14
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Aren't these toll booths owned by local politicians/corporators or at least they get some kind of comission, especially on state highways?
Ethics/Legality stops there.
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Old 23rd October 2010, 22:27   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C300 View Post
Aren't these toll booths owned by local politicians/corporators or at least they get some kind of comission, especially on state highways?
Ethics/Legality stops there.
You have hit the point very precisely. I don't mind paying when I know the road that I am travelling would give me and vehicle a relaxing drive,however the AP section - VJA - RJA (Nh5) gives me a different picture. Taking an example of cyclists who drive in the extreme right of the left section of the expressway and sometime they are not visible on the curves, if there is a loss of life or limb occurs due to this, who is supposed to be blamed? NHAI / People who use the road / People who drive on the road paying taxes / People who collect taxes to maintain them? On a different note, a quick discussion with the toll operator near eluru revealed that the % are all set and there is no way that the toll gate would be removed even after completing it's stipulated time frame on BOT.

God save the drivers on this stretch
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