Jammu and Kashmir Socio-Economic Coordination Committee (JKSECC) has expressed its dismay and disappointment over a collection of toll tax by National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) on an uncompleted stretch of Srinagar-Udhampur road at Sangam point.
JKSECC said it held a meeting in which the members questioned the legal authenticity of the decision.
“The decision has been taken by a non-local organisation that has been involved in the execution of a centrally sponsored road project which cannot claim ownership on the road being constructed by them under any law of the land.”
While terming the toll tax as ‘illegal, unconstitutional’ JKSECC said that the decision and the uncalled charges for using the road should be scrapped forthwith.
The members said that land for any centrally sponsored project could be requisitioned by and allotted to President of India who in turn may give it to the concerned agency for execution of a particular project. “Such an agency after completion of the project is under obligation to return back the project to the state government for the benefit of its citizens. We wonder how all these provisions of the law could be ignored while taking a decision about the collection of user charges,” observed the members.
“The decision seems to have been taken without application of mind and without taking the state government into confidence.”
It said the state government has to make NHAI accountable for an unprecedented delay in the completion of the road project that was assigned to them 25 years back.
“Whereas the delay has resulted in great public inconvenience, it has also caused huge monetary losses to the traders and transporters. The frequent closure of the highway because of heavy landsliding attributable to the construction works has unleashed socio-economic problems of unimaginable magnitude in the valley.”