Hyderabad: The Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority did not provide commuters any relief from paying toll on the Outer Ring Road, though the National Highways Authority of India and the state government did so on Sunday. The result? Hour-long traffic jams at all toll plazas on the ORR for the third consecutive day.
Chief secretary Dr S.K. Joshi on Saturday night issued orders to not collect toll at plazas across the state during the festive season. But municipal authorities cited a technical reason for giving no such relief on the outer ring road. They said the government had waived off toll charges only on national highways and not on the ORR. Thus, staff continued to collect toll at 119 plazas on the 158-km stretch.
The ORR was aimed at providing hassle-free journey to commuters before they touched NH 44, NH 65, NH 161, NH 163 or NH 765 to reach adjoining Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka or Maharashtra or state highways leading to Vikarabad, Nagarjunasagar, Karimnagar, Mancherial, Nizamabad or Adilabad.
Several commuters got into a confrontation with toll plaza staff, showing articles published in several newspapers about the relief. But the staff said they had not received any such instructions.
“Either the government or HMDA is cheating us,” said Mr D. Harinath Reddy, a commuter. “I set off from Nanakramguda to Vijayawada after hearing that the state government had waived of toll charges. But I was surprised to see heavy traffic jams on the way. When I enquired the reason, I was shocked to learn that the toll staff at Nanakramguda were collecting toll charges.”
Mr D. Anil Kumar actually got into a confrontation with toll plaza staff at the Telangana State Police Academy (ORR Entry 18). “ORR patrol police suggested we talk to HMDA authorities and not argue with the toll staff,” Dr Kumar said. “Even police authorities were unaware about the toll breather. My journey to Warangal has been extended by three hours because of traffic snarls.”
ORR chief general manager Mr Sk Muzaffer Imam reiterated that the government had waived toll charges only on national highways. HMDA did not specify ORR in its order, he said.
In the official release, Dr Joshi gave instructions to waive toll plaza charges for commuters on national highways to and from Hyderabad during the Sankranti holidays and a day before and after (January 13 and 16)....