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HC wants dedicated lanes for VIPs at toll plazas

The Madras High Court on Wednesday expressed its displeasure over VIPs being put to hardship at toll plazas on national highways due to the absence of dedicated lanes for movement of their vehicles. It directed the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to make sure that such lanes were maintained at all toll plazas.

A Division Bench of Justices Huluvadi G. Ramesh and M.V. Muralidaran issued the direction, while hearing a batch of cases related to collection of toll for buses, operated by State transport corporations. The judges also impressed upon the need to instruct personnel, manning the toll collection booths, to behave properly with the VIPs.

A similar direction was issued by a Division Bench of Justices K.K. Sasidharan and G.R. Swaminathan in December last, while diposing of a case filed in the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court. The court had then ordered maintenance of dedicated lanes at toll plazas, for ambulances and vehicles exempted from payment of toll.

The order was part of 15 directives, issued by the court to the NHAI and its concessionaires, on maintenance of toll plazas.

The Bench had ordered that the dedicated lanes must either have a security personnel on duty at both the entry points with a safety cone or they must be regulated with boom barriers that could be operated manually.

The judges said the concessionaires as well as the local police must also ensure that no one parks vehicles in a precarious way on the highways. The court said the collection of toll must be suspended if concessionaires do not attend to repairs within a reasonable time, fixed by the NHAI or the jurisdictional Collector. It also warned the officials of penal action, if the directions were not complied with.

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