NHAI justifies extension of toll collection agreement

At Paliyekkara on Mannuthy-Edappally NH

Justifying the extension of the agreement on collecting toll at Paliyekkara on the Mannuthy-Edappally national highway till 2028, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on Wednesday informed the Kerala High Court that yearly revision in the rate of user fee had been permitted by the Centre.

In an affidavit, the NHAI said there was no merit in the contention that the concessionaire continued to make periodical revision of the toll despite recovering the total cost incurred towards the project work and having earned reasonable benefits.

The affidavit was filed in response to a writ petition seeking a directive to quash the agreement fixing the tenure for collecting toll collection at Paliyekkara.

The petition said the Mannuthy-Edappally national highway was built at a cost of ₹721.17 crore and the toll collection started on February 9, 2012. An RTI response revealed that ₹801.60 crore had been collected until July 2020.

As per the agreement, once the construction cost was collected, the toll amount must be reduced by 40%. But this had not been done.

The affidavit stated that the Central government had a statutory right to levy and decide the rate of fees to be collected for different categories of mechanical vehicles using a section of the national highway.

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