Amid protests by opposition parties and local residents against the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) made Lakhanpur toll plaza in Kathua district operational from Tuesday morning.
The toll plaza was inaugurated by Ajay Kumar Rajak, Project Director, NHAI, PIU-Jammu.
Rajak, informed that the toll collection for completed 4-lane section from Lakhanpur to Jammu was supposed to commence in the year 2012. In 2014 it was decided to collect the user fee at two locations i.e. Lakhanpur and Thandi Khui.
However, after various levels of discussions and meetings at different levels in Center and UT Government, Thandi Khui Toll Plaza commenced for user fee collection of the section Samba to Kunjwani and Jammu Bypass on 11.10.2019. It was decided to handover the existing old Lakhanpur Toll Plaza to NHAI for the purpose of user fee collection in accordance with the National Highway (Determination of Rates and Collection of Fee) Rules, 2008. Now therefore, the user fee collection for the section from Lakhanpur to Samba will be done at Lakhanpur Fee Plaza. The toll rates for the Lakhanpur toll plaza have been widely publicized through newspaper advertisements, Rajak informed.
He stated that the 2 toll plazas of Lakhanpur and Thandi Khui are more than 71 kilometers apart and hence in accordance with the 60 kilometers criteria applicable for only those toll plazas which are on the same section of National Highway. User Fee of National Highway is to be collected at Lakhanpur Toll Plaza”, he added.
Twelve lane toll plaza has been developed for smooth and fast collection of user fee. The ETC (FASTag) Infrastructure has been installed for electronic toll payment by the road commuters. Further, there are allotted dedicated lane for buses, trucks, LMV and exempted and VIP lanes, Rajak stated.
While speaking on the occasion, Rajak said, “NHAI is charging the user fee as per the rates issued through Gazette notification published by Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways, Government of India in the official Gazette of India and calculated as per NH Fee Rules, 2008 (as amended). NHAI is bound to give better services to the road users and stick to the theme of Authority “Building A Nation, Not Just Roads”.
He informed that the various development proposals on this Lakhanpur-Jammu Section of NH-44 were not being approved because of non-commencement of the toll plaza since 2012. “People will feel the difference on the road and their drive will become safer and smoother with every passing day,” he said.
This is the fourth toll post in Jammu region.