Slamming the officials of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for shoddy maintenance of the Maduravoyal-Walajapet stretch of the Chennai-Bengaluru NH4, the Madras high court on Thursday issued a notice to NHAI and the State Highways department to respond by December 12.
“It is not known when the road was re-laid. Despite all this, toll fee was being collected from the road users at regular rates and even at increased rates. No responsibility has been fixed upon the concessionaire and no follow-up action was taken up by the NHAI officials,” the bench said.
The suo motu PIL was based on a note put up by Justice Sathyanarayanan to the Chief Justice regarding the bad condition of the Highways and its improper maintenance. It suggested that the road might be re-laid afresh in accordance with the specification of Indian Road Congress and in the meanwhile not to collect toll fee.
However, the bench on observing that the roads in Chennai city were no better, suo motu impleaded the Commissioner of Greater Chennai Corporation and the Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Greater Chennai City Police as party-respondents in the PIL.
During the hearing, the bench in a lighter vein observed that the equality clause enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution has been strictly adhered to by the government in the maintenance of public roads.
“Even the roads frequented by VIPs, including the ones used by High Court judges are also being kept in bad shape. Thus, the government is strictly implementing the equality at least in the (poor) maintenance of the roads, the bench observed.