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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Another day, another hassle !

I sometimes feel tired of symptomatically handling the toll tax exemption issue.

Now in utter contravention of the Indian Tolls (Army & Air Force) Act, 1901, directions of the Govt of India and law laid down by the Supreme Court, an officer of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has endorsed a communication dated 24 Nov 2011 to one of the private toll operators in Punjab that toll exemption to private vehicles of defence personnel is only to be provided when the person is in uniform.

Needless to say, there is no such legal or statutory requirement and the exemption is actually applicable and available to both on-duty and off-duty defence personnel. And as expected, the letter has virally spread to many other toll operators who are using and quoting it as an excuse to deny toll exemption on other roads and bridges.

While I have taken up the issue for corrective action and am hopeful for early rectification, I feel boggled by the constant requests to tackle this by officers serving in the Services HQ – it in fact is their duty to take this on proactively and without any timidity. Their requests should be directed towards the Movement Directorate and not towards me since I have very limited time on my hands to physically get such issues resolved since it involves personal interaction, liaison and travel to Delhi. I have already in 2008 provided all material on the subject to the Services HQ which is enough for resolution of any related controversy for all times to come. The material can also be accessed by perusing this blogpost of September 2008. Interestingly, the condition of being in uniform had been initially imposed on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway also and which was blindly endorsed by the office of ADG Movement in 2007 but the same was effectively tackled, the details of which can be accessed by clicking here.

Will keep readers informed about the progress on this latest goof-up by NHAI.

13 comments:

amit said...

it should tell u about the proactive approach or the lack of it at our hqs, where everyone is ready to crib but not openly as its a strong notion that it may spoil their profile and career if one raises unpleasant questions, that i feel is the root cause for the ills surrounding our defence forces today,
amit

SATTY'S CORNER said...

It is shameful for the men in uniform to force navdeep on each and every issue. Don't they have it in them to stand up for all wrong doings. I strongly feel that private vehs of defence pers should only be exempted when in uniform.Even chaps in MES/DRDO/BRO etc call themselves defence pers and want to avail of the exemption.Let us respect the uniform and restrict all sundry from availing exemptions which they are not entitled to. Even Veterans should not feel bad in paying toll tax.

Anonymous said...

This proves the fact that what real "aukaat" army has got in this country and some time danda is also required

Velayudhan said...

Dear Navadeep,

Yes AHQ should take up the issue with concerned ministry to the best advatage of the AF pers. I just do not agree with satty's suggestion of wearing uniform while travelling in pers veh which has got its added disadvatage because of the security reasons.
Unlike the olden periods there used to be a very limited tolls on the road. but now withthe NAHI building 4 ,6 and 8 lane roads through out the country lot of tollplazas have come up and are well maintained.
If the military pers are exempted others should not have any cribs as this roads are not frequently used by mil pers who uses once in a while when coming on leave or visiting some place with family.People from MES,DRDO are not mil pers and they cannot claim this facility.All the tall plazas in the country are manned by privte security agencies consisting of faujis/veterans and they very well understand faujis and its not an issue.Therefore this facility should be given to Mil pers both serving and retired which should be encouraged and should be taken up appropriately.

Thaks
With regards
Velayudhan

majamit said...

1.Taking toll tax from serving defence personnel is in contravention of INDIAN TOLL ACT,This rule has been enforced strictly since maj navdeep fought the case.All credit goes to him and we all r grateful to him.
2.In 2003, when this thing had already gone up to the courts, i faced the same thing in sept 2003 when i was going through Mehatpur(himachal) toll barrier and was told to pay;i took the toll fee reciept and filed a complaint to District Collector and SSP UNA from my unit in J&K.I got a reply that i should wait as the case has already gone for decision .After this , since 2004 i never faced this problem till a few days back when i was told to pay toll tax in behrampur(punjab)where i resisted , then a traffic police chap showed me the book containing the new amendment.Respecting the rules imposed by NH Authority, i immediately payed the toll tax and continued on my journey to gurgaon but at all other barriers i was never told to pay toll tax.
3.I agree with Maj navdeep when he says that he feels tired tackling this matter everytime.
4.It is not possible for armymen to travel in their private vehicles in uniform every time and its against military rules and ethos both(generally they happen to cross barries of NH while on leave and wearing dress on leave or in offduty hours just for the sake of saving toll tax is below dignity for a fauji)
5.showing armed forces identity card is the ultimate authority of being a defence personnel and for this uniform is not the prerequisite while on leave.
6.when rules on this have been enforced by SUPREME COURT, no other authority should come in way, this is totally wrong.
7.Arguing at toll barrier upto certin limit is justified but beyond that its not dignified in case of defence personnel, so the concerned authorities should themselves take utmost care in respecting the people in uniform and not to put them in ambarassing condition.
MAJOR Amit Kumar
Medical Officer

ANUPAM said...

this country actually needs a war situation every 5 years so that the nation does not forget the services...remember kargil...wherein all faujis of the present genre felt like being little special every now and then vide small gestures shown in various small ways....and here after 12 years he will again be seen fighting and arguing with the toll collector!!!!!!ha ha ha...ye country!!!o darling ye hai INDIA....

Faujidoc said...

Pers in uniform are forbidden by service rules from forming any association or organization to protect their interests. The responsibility for their well being falls on their superior officers, who of late seem to be failing in their efforts {for whatever reason ;-)}. Honour and civil society requires the services of a braveheart such as Maj Navdeep to save the fauj from itself... Sir, please consider forming an NGO to protect the rights of service personnel and to take up issues regarding their well being... I for one, would contribute generously to such an NGO! You could even consider using the aegis of this blog to form and finance such an entity, which would serve as a publicly funded watchdog on the govt.

Anonymous said...

Why not NHAI will have its share of pie in creating trouble for the faujis. it is a fun game going on by various department and organisations of the government. everyone wants to get satisfaction by degrading and dishonouring the faujis. and the situation will continue till faujis get the satisfaction in thinking that everyone in civil dress is the boss specially our so called leaders (commanders)

COL LAMBA said...

OFFICER CRISIS IN ARMY
THE ARMY IS FINE MACHINERY. ALL THE FINGERS ARE NOT ALIKE.
FEW BAD ELEMENTS HAVE SPOILED THE IMAGE OF ARMY IN RECENTLY.IN PAST IT WAS RULERS /KINGS CHOICE TO SEND PRINCES IN ARMY.TAKE CASE IN PRESENT TOO COL BHAWANI SINGH [MAHARAJA OF JAIPUR ,CAPT AMRINDER SINGH OF PATIALA.
WE INHERITED ARMY FROM BRITISH EVEN TO DAY QUEEN SON/GRAND SON ARE SENT TO ARMY/NAVY
THE ARMY HAS BEEN IN FORE FRONT IN PEACE & WAR
YOU CALL ARMY
IF A CHILD GOES TO WELL
TRAIN ACCIDENT OCCURS
EARTHQUAKE
CLOUD BURST
DOCTORS/ENGINEERS/RAILWAYS/P&T GOES ON STRIKE
TERRORIST ATTACK ON HOTEL
LAW & ORDER PROBLEM,
THE ARMY HAS ALWAYS RESTORED SITUATION SPOILED BY CIVIL STAFF FAILURE IN ABOVE ACCOUNTS
BUT ON OTHER HAND ARMY HAS BEEN PUNISHED EACH TIME
PENSION IN OTHER COUNTRIES IS GIVEN 75-100%. IT WAS BEING PAID 75 % IN EARLY FIFTIES TO OUR PERSON WHICH WAS REDUCED TO 50 % TO BRING AT PAR WITH CIVIL
STANDARD DEDUCTION 33% ON INCOME TAKEN AWAY
DA WAS NOT TAXED EARLIER NOW EVEN DA BEING TAXED ANY WORTH WHILE LOGIC
INTER SE SENIORITY DOWN GRADED YEAR BY YEAR. POLICE HAS GONE ONE RANK UP DURING COAS MALOHOTRA TIME HE DID HIS BEST TO REVERSE IT BUT COULD NOT DO SO
A DIG WHO WAS RECENTLY JUNIOR TO COL HAS NOW BEING MADE EQUAL TO BRIG
IAS TIME SCALE RETIREMENT IS EQUAL TO MAG GEN & IN ARMY IT IS MAX COL
ONCE THE GIRLS FIRST CHOICE FOR MARRIAGE WAS ARMY OFFICER BUT NOW IT IS LAST CHOICE
SEE THE INTAKE CADRE EARLIER ARMY OFFICER USE TO ADOPT ARMY AS PROFESSION BUT NOT NOW.
NATION WANTS BEST FROM ARMY THAN PAY THE BEST TO THEM NOT TO IAS/IPS AS THEIR FAILURE IS CORRECTED BY ARMY & PAY PENSIONER 75 % OF PAY AS MINIMUM AS WAS DONE EARLIER & AS BEING PAID IN OTHER COUNTIES
YOU WILL SEE THAN NOT ONLY SHORT FALL IS REMOVED BUT VERY FINE QUALITY OF INTAKE WILL BE THEIR
A STRONG ARMY IS REQUIRED TO SAVE NATIONS/ LIFE & PROPERTY OF CIVILIANS OTHERWISE INVADERS WILL NOT BE FAR AWAY SEE STATE OF IRAQ/AFGAN IRAN IS NOT FAR AWAY.

harjeet singh said...

I ALSO FACED THE PROBLEM IN MAHARASHTRA WHEN I WAS TOLD THAT PRIVATE VEHS OF ARMY PERSONS ARE NOT EXEMPTED . ON THE BOARD ALSO IT WAS WRITTEN THAT DEFENCE VEH ARE EXEMPTED . THE SUPERVISOR ON DUTY INTERPRETED THAT ONLY OFFICIAL DEFENCE VEHS ARE EXEMPTED AND NOT THE PRIVATE VEHS .
IF A GENERAK AND CLEAR LETTER IS ISSUED BY NHAI THEN IT WILL BE BETTER .

Arvind.G said...

Since the matter has been clarified with the NHAI, a copy their letter, if made available can be circulated to all through your estemeed blog..will be of immense help.

ANUPAM said...

@col lamba...sir...i second every thought of urs but expecting all that 2 reverse and improve subsequently in years to come is almost impossible now...some how it is veri sad that a country like ours which is not deficient in any way either in terms of resources, brains,money ,educated personnel's and so on...a country whose value is known by others only..has to face such a crisis.....

SK Prakash said...

Has NHAI consulted its legal head before issuing such a letter . FYI the Legal Head of NHAI is former JAG (Air)