DND Flyway to remain toll-free, CAG to audit accounts

New Delhi, Nov 11 (IANS) The Delhi Noida Direct (DND) Flyover will remain free as the Supreme Court on Friday refused to grant any relief to the project concessionaire which sought resumption of toll collection.

A bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice L. Nageswara Rao also asked the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to verify the total cost of the Noida toll project and whether the toll-collection company, NOIDA Toll Bridge Company Ltd., has recovered its flyway cost as provided under construction the agreement.

Referring to the conflicting claims over the recovery of the total cost of the project by the concessionaire, the court said: “We …request the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) to assist us in this matter.”

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 on October 26 ordered the DND flyway to be made toll-free.