New Delhi: The DND or Delhi-Noida-Direct Flyway connecting the capital to neighbouring Noida in Uttar Pradesh will be toll-free from now, which brings sweet relief to millions of commuters.
The Allahabad High Court's decision today comes two months after massive protests at the eight-lane, nine km long link. Alleging corruption in the DND project and overcharging, protesters had blocked toll collection for two days, affecting traffic severely.
The court acted on a petition by a group of Noida residents in 2012 that the bridge be made toll-free.
It said the fee collected by the Noida Toll Bridge Company "is not supported by legal provisions". The company, said the court, had recovered over Rs 800 crore in toll fee in 13 years, which meant a surplus of Rs 578 crore after taking away operating costs.
"We are more than satisfied that (the company) cannot now recover the user fees from commuters," the court said.
"The court has given the best Diwali gift to the public," the petitioners said.
In August, protesters had demanded that the Rs 28 toll be scrapped, alleging that the operator had already made profits but was still charging the public.
The expressway, which opened in 2001, considerably reduces the travel time between Delhi and Noida. Commuters, however, often face huge traffic jams. An average of 1.5 lakh vehicles take the route daily.