NHAI had been given all the existing roads which were formerly under the maintenance of CPWD to private operators, consequently NHAI roads have become tollable roads. Just to ensure that the vote-casting lower middle class do not make a hue and cry about these “TOLLABLE” roads, as a concession, auto-rickshaws, cycles, motor cycles and local buses are exempted from paying toll. In effect the government has ensured that the lower income group does not escalate the matter.
However, this measure has left car owners with no option but to pay toll wherever they go. Since their voice is not heard in the din of ‘socialistic measures’, none emphasizes this point. In effect there are no alternate FREE ROADS for car owners.
Coming to the overladen trucks, in a segment of around 50KMs, a car if charged Rs.70/- the toll collectible from a truck is Rs.210/- one way. This is whether the truck is laden or not. What is the load on the road because of a car? Starting from 600Kgs to 2500Kgs. But what is the fully laden weight of a normally over-laden truck- 35,000 Kgs. Which in proportion would be ten times that of a passenger car. So if one works pro-rata for the trucks keeping Rs.70/- as the base rate, then the trucks should be paying Rs.700/- per segment of 50 Kms. Why is this anomaly, in the name of ‘socialism’? We as a nation have to keep the prices of goods down and therefore keep the toll charges down on trucks at the cost of the passenger cars. (Rob the non-vote-casting passenger, Peter to pay the vote-casting low income, Paul!)
Even this is tolerable, but what can’t be tolerated is that in a three lane NHAI, in the inner most lane, which is normally used by high speed passenger cars and emergency vehicles, crawling over-loaded trucks huff and puff blocking the least facility of quick movement for the fast moving passenger cars. Especially, in the stretch between Ambur, Krishnagiri and Hosur on the NHAI between Chennai and Bangalore, there is an upward gradient making even ideally loaded trucks to struggle.
In view of the above problems, there are two measures which are to be taken up by NHAI and done on a war footing:-
1. Weigh bridges are to be installed at every toll plaza so that, overweight trucks are to be charged extra based on the overweight, so that the prices do not get affected for carrying goods within the prescribed limits for trucks.
2. Traffic Police are to be made more efficient, so that rogue truckers moving on the inner lanes are charged real time.
3. Further, there are not enough public conveniences on the way for travelers, and I should say that i saw two girls of the age between 23-25 having to cross three lanes on each side to find a public convenience after their bus stopped near a tea stall, which for the favour of bringing 40 clients for tea, the stall owner gives free tea and biscuits to the driver and conductors.
Considering the fact that the usage of NHAI are the highest in the Western India and Southern India, it is important that NHAI TRAFFIC POLICE SERVICE be mooted and implemented, so that they could join the local police, traffic authorities and bring some order to the traffic chaos, which is brewing in the NHAIs!