The Delhi High Court has directed the NHAI and HSIIDC to ensure basic amenities, including toilets, petrol pumps, ambulance and emergency facilities on the Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways as early as possible.
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said if these facilities are already provided, they should be maintained by the authorities, that is, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC), to ensure effective use.
The court's order came while disposing of a petition which sought the availability of a variety of facilities/amenities like petrol pump, toilet complex, ambulance, emergency facilities, eateries and police patrolling on Kundali-Manesar-Palwal expressway as well as on Kundali-Ghaziabad-Palwal expressway.
"We therefore direct the respondents (authorities) to ensure the availability of the facilities as mentioned in this writ petition on the aforesaid expressways as early as possible and practicable looking at the availability of the funds and priority of the other works pending with the respondents," the bench said.
The court said it is ought to be kept in mind that these types of facilities/amenities cannot be developed/introduced overnight by the authorities at a particular place and some time is bound to be consumed by them.
The petition was filed by advocate and social activist Amit Sahni saying that no such facilities were available on Western Peripheral Expressway or Kundli-Manesar-Pawal (KMP) Expressway, which was made operational about two years ago, though thousands of vehicles cross it daily and pay the toll.
The plea, however, said some of the facilities are available at Eastern Peripheral Expressway or Kundli-GhaziabadPalwal (KGP) Expressway, which was inaugurated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November last year.
"Directions may kindly be passed that the wayside amenities be integrally planned and developed along with national highways and such amenities be made operational by the respondent (NHAI) for all its future projects before the commencement of toll collection on all such highways, in order to ensure safety and security of the commuters...," it said.
The plea mentioned that other national highways which are connected to Delhi have basic facilities like helplines for crane, ambulance, route patrol, emergency services, nearest police station and hospital.
The petitioner said he made a representation to the NHAI on April 1 but till date no action has been taken after which he approached the high court.
The KMP expressway is an operational 6-lane (3 lane in each direction), 135.6-km-long expressway in Haryana.
Both the expressways were constructed with an expectation to divert more than 50,000 heavy vehicles from Delhi to help maintain good air quality in Delhi. The two expressways complete the largest ring road around Delhi.
Each of the 10 entries and exits are tolled and the rates notified in December 2018 in Rs 1.35 per km for cars, Rs 2.18 per km for light motor vehicles, Rs 4.98 per km for trucks and buses.
Two wheelers are not permitted on the expressways, the plea said.