NHAI to move SC against nod to build more toll plazas
New Delhi: An arbitration tribunal’s ‘creative’ interpretation of contract condition in a highway project, which has been upheld by the Delhi HC, has put the NHAI in a fix.
The tribunal has allowed the concessionaire of Puducherry–Tindivanam NH stretch to build an additional “auxiliary” toll plaza on the stretch after the private player claimed revenue loss due to ‘exit’ roads and cross roads near toll plaza. The tribunal has said the contract condition of “toll can be collected only at one toll plaza” does not mean there cannot more than one plaza on that stretch. The Delhi HC had dismissed NHAI’s appeal against the the order.
Apprehending that the order would have wider ramification across the country and provide a handle to contractors to seek more toll collection points at all exit roads, NHAI has now decided to approach the SC.
Sources claimed this “perverse” interpretation of the contract by the arbitration panel can become an example for other highway contractors to make similar demand. Citing an example, they said, one can imagine what will be the condition, if the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway concessionaire is allowed to put toll plazas at all the ‘exit’ points between Delhi and Kherki-Dhaula where the toll plaza is currently located or any other stretch.
“They can have the same argument that a large number of vehicles using the road were not passing through the toll plaza and hence they are losing revenue. And if we have to pay compensation in every case, you can imagine the burden on NHAI,” said an official.
TOI has learnt that the concessionaire of the Puducherry-Tindivanam stretch had sought sought compensation of Rs 58.3 crore from NHAI for toll loss since December 2014. After NHAI rejected the demand, the concessionaire sought adjudication of its claims by an arbitration tribunal.
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An arbitration tribunal has allowed the concessionaire of Puducherry–Tindivanam NH stretch to build an additional ‘auxiliary’ toll plaza