Information regarding present fee rate for vehicles at Hattargi user fee plaza were sought - Respondent: Recovery of excess toll collection of Rs.1.827 crore has been made while penalty proceedings have also been initiated - CIC appreciated the effort
The complainant sought information regarding present fee rate for car/jeep/van (LMV) for one way and return trip at Hattargi user fee plaza, total amount collected from 16.11.2012 for the same, reasons for collecting Rs.20 & Rs.40 when it should have been Rs.15 & Rs.35 for one way and round trip respectively, etc.
Relevant facts emerging during hearing:
Both parties are present and heard through video conference.
The complainant filed RTI applications dated 12.03.2013 and 25.03.2013, seeking the above information. The PIO provided point-wise information to the complainant.
The complainant filed first appeal against the reply provided in response to his RTI application dated 25.03.2013.
The FAA in his order directed the CPIO to provide information on Points 3 (c) & (d) to the complainant. In compliance thereof, the CPIO furnished revised reply to the complainant vide letter dated 31.05.2013.
The complainant stated that he wants to know the reasons for which the user fee was being charged at Rs.20 and Rs.40 whereas it should have been Rs.15 and Rs.35 respectively. The respondent stated that the information was provided to the complainant at the very first instance. He stated that based on his complaint/RTI application a surprise check was carried out on 26.03.2013 and it was found that some car/jeep/van and LMVs were being charged Rs.20 and Rs.40 for single and return journey. He stated that corrective measures were taken immediately and penalty proceedings have also been initiated in this regard. The respondent stated that the issue of imposing penalty for excess collection toll fee by toll collecting agency has been taken up with NHAI Hqrs. and an amount of Rs.1.827 crore has been recovered for the same. The excess amount of toll fee collected by the agency has also been refunded to NHAI by the toll collecting agency.
After hearing the parties and on perusal of record, the Commission is of the view that information was provided to the complainant, at the very first instance and no further action is required in this case. However, the fact that the appellant’s RTI application made the officials of the NHAI to investigate into this matter and to stop the excess collection of user fee from passengers, is commendable. This not only led to the recovery of the amount of 1.827 Crs along with interest to the NHAI but notice boards came up on all toll booths, displaying that the excess user fee of Rs. 5/- can be collected by the passengers, after producing proof of identification and excess fee charged. The Commission, therefore, appreciates the fact that the complainant has raised a very pertinent and an important issue involving public interest through his RTI application, which has been promptly redressed by the public authority. The complaint is disposed of accordingly.