ZT News Network
Srinagar, May 8: Jammu and Kashmir Socio Economic Coordination Committee (JKSECC) has expressed its dismay and disappointment over collection of user charges (“toll tax”) by National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) on uncompleted stretch of Srinagar-Udhampur road at Sangam point.
In a meeting of the amalgam, the members questioned the legal authenticity of the decision taken by a non local organisation that has been involved in execution of a centrally sponsored road project which cannot claim ownership on the road being constructed by them under any law of the land. This is simply illegal and unconstitutional. The members further explained that land for any centrally sponsored project could be requisioned by and allotted to President of India who in turn may give it to the concerned agency for execution of a particular project. Such an agency after completion of the project is under obligation to return back the said project to the state government for the benefit of its citizens. “We wonder how all these provisions of law could be ignored while taking a decision about collection of user charges”, observed the members. The members further observed that the decision seems to have been taken without application of mind and without taking the state government into confidence.
In fact the state government has to make NHAI accountable for an unprecedented delay in the completion of the road project that was assigned to them 25 years back. Whereas the delay has resulted in great public inconvenience, it has also caused huge monetary losses to the traders and transporters. The frequent closure of the highway because of heavy landsliding attributable to the construction works has unleashed socio economic problems of unimaginable magnitude in the valley.
In light of these facts this illegal and uncalled charges for using the road should be scrapped forthwith.
Government’s preparatory measures
Meanwhile, for smooth regulation of traffic on newly established toll plaza on Srinagar-Jammu highway at Chursoo, Sangam in Anantnag district, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan today convened a meeting to review the required modalities.
The government has already decided that people living within 20 kms on both sides of toll plaza would not have to pay any toll. The locals will be issued free travel passes for free movement.
Various other issues were also discussed threadbare in the meeting.
The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir directed the concerned officers to remove all bottlenecks immediately so that the commuters do not face inconvenience during their journey through newly established toll plaza on Srinagar-Jammu highway at Chursoo, Sangam in Anantnag district.
Deputy Commissioner Pulwama Dr Syed Abid Rashid Shah, IG CRPF, Officers of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), Assistant Commissioner (central) and other concerned officers were present in the meeting where as SSP Awantipora participated in the meeting through video conferencing.