DND Flyway to remain toll-free as SC upholds HC verdict

New Delhi, Nov 11 (IANS) The Delhi Noida Direct (DND) Flyway will continue to remain toll-free, with the Supreme Court on Friday upholding the Allahabad High Court verdict to stop collection of toll.

Declining to give any relief to the toll collection company, Noida Toll Bridge Company Ltd, an apex court bench also asked the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) to verify the total cost of the Noida toll project.

In view of the conflicting claims over the recovery of the total cost of the project by the concessionaire, the bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice L. Nageswara Rao said: “We…request the CAG to assist us in this matter.”

The apex court asked the CAG to ascertain whether the Noida Toll Bridge Company Ltd has recovered its flyway cost, as provided under the construction agreement.

The court gave the CAG four weeks to complete the audit.

Pronouncing the order, Justice Rao said: “…that the CAG is requested to verify the claim of the petitioner that the total project cost has not been recovered and submit a report within four weeks. The CAG shall be at liberty to call for and examine all such records having a bearing on the financial aspects, as it requires to facilitate its decision.”

Asking the concessionaire to cooperate with the CAG in providing all the information, the court said: “This will include matters and information pertaining to all benefits which have flowed to the petitioner (Noida Toll Bridge Company Ltd) under the entirety of the agreement, including the utilisation, if any.”

Declining the company plea to put on hold the Allahabad High Court judgment that ended the toll collection, the apex court said: “We do not agree with the submission that the petitioner (company) would suffer irreparable loss if the High Court judgment is not stayed.”

“It will be impossible to provide restitution to the lakhs of commuters from whom the fee would be collected to repay them in the event of dismissal of the SLP by the Noida Toll Bridge Company Ltd, if its petition challenging the High Court order falls.”

On the other hand, the court said, “If the petitioner succeeds, it can be compensated suitably by extension of time.”

The Allahabad High Court had on October 26 ordered that the DND Flyway be made toll-free.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Noida Residents Welfare Association (FONRWA) on Friday hailed the Supreme Court’s decision to keep the DND Flyway toll-free.

“We respect and hail the decision of the apex Court,” FONRWA President N.P. Singh told IANS after the court refused to grant any relief to the project concessionaire, which sought resumption of toll collection.

Singh also alleged that the DND has made profits and has recovered its flyway cost as provided under the construction agreement.

“Now the CAG will look after their accounts,” Singh added.

When contacted, officials of the DND declined to comment on the matter.