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.